Some banks are taking coronavirus stimulus checks for overdrawn accounts
Some Americans’ coronavirus stimulus checks are reportedly disappearing because their banks are pocketing the money.
Some banks are putting customers’ deposits from the federal government toward negative balances in their accounts — leaving those unfortunate taxpayers with nothing, The New York Times reported Thursday.
USAA — a financial-services company that serves people in the military — kept $2,400 from a Minneapolis woman and her disabled veteran husband because they had an overdrawn account, according to the paper. The woman was reportedly planning to use the money to pay rent and buy formula for her infant daughter.
And Benji Pedro of South Carolina told the Times that Safe Federal Credit Union kept his entire $1,200 stimulus payment to help pay back an account that was overdrawn by $2,650 because he had forgotten to cancel a pair of music subscriptions.
Another woman had to battle with Digital Credit Union in Massachusetts to keep all of the $2,400 that she and her husband were due to receive, the Times reported. The credit union reportedly kept $1,000 at first because of an overdrawn account but relented after the customer called multiple times.
While the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill Congress passed last month largely protects the payments from state or federal debt collection, the feds have told banks there’s nothing to stop them from taking the money to pay off outstanding debts they’re owed, The American Prospect reported this week.
That could spell trouble for the more than 39 million Americans who had racked up at least one fee in the past year for having insufficient funds or overdrawing their bank account, according to a 2018 Pew Charitable Trusts report.
JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have all said they will abstain from grabbing the money. The three banking giants pledged to pause collections on negative balances or give credits to people with overdrawn accounts.
“We hope this gives them a chance to catch their breath,” JPMorgan spokeswoman Anne Pace said.
With Post wires
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