Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he has introduced H.R. 1679, a bill that would amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act, more commonly known as Regulation CC, to prevent excessive delays in releasing funds from checks deposited at banks in the territory.
Enacted in 1987, Regulation CC standardized hold periods on deposits made to commercial banks. Currently, banks in the U.S. mainland and certain territories are required to make funds available for consumer use from in-state checks no later than the second business day after the check is deposited. Out-of-state checks can be held for up to five business days before funds must be released. Banks in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands may, at their discretion, hold out-of-state checks for up to six business days before releasing funds for access.
The schedule of hold-times provided in the current Regulation CC does not apply to American Samoa. Specifically, when Regulation CC was enacted, American Samoa was not included within the definitions of “State” or “United States.” This exemption allows banks in the territory to hold checks for an undetermined amount of time before releasing funds for use or withdrawal.
“American Samoa’s exclusion from Regulation CC places a substantial financial burden on those living in our territory,” Faleomavaega said. “This omission not only affects our ability to sustain ourselves and our families but also weakens our ability to stimulate our local island economy.”
“It is appalling to me that a financial institution like ANZ Bank with a special relationship with the American Samoan people has a policy of holding U.S. checks for 21 business days. It is even more astonishing that the U.S. federal government allows such behavior within an American territory. Our people should have timely access to their funds, just as those who live in the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Faleomavaega continued.
“H.R. 1679 is important for our people. I look forward to working closely with Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Ranking Member Maxine Waters of the House Committee on Financial Services to ensure that American Samoa is included within the provisions of Regulation CC,” Faleomavaega concluded.