IN RELEASING PUA MONEY
Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig said they are working with the government’s main bank, Bank of Guam, to revert back to direct deposits in releasing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance money as the process is quicker.
“There’s a lot of checking and verification when we do paper checks,” said Atalig during Friday’s radio news briefing.
Atalig was set to have a meeting with Bank of Guam officials last Monday morning to resolve issues in reverting back to direct deposits so they can ensure that recipients will get their PUA funds quickly.
As of press time yesterday, Saipan Tribune was awaiting Atalig’s update about his meeting with the bank.
Atalig said that batches of PUA checks that they have already printed are now at the Department of Labor and are being reviewed.
He said his team at Finance is also working with Labor as well to speed up the process. “We are working out these details,” he said, referring to his talks with the bank in reverting to direct deposits.
He said if there was any issues that were corrected, and then wasn’t corrected in the Geo Solutions system, those people were converted to paper checks.
The secretary explained that the reason why they transferred or moved people from direct deposits to paper check is that they are guided by the rules of the National Treasury and banking laws that once there are three errors on any ACH (Automated Clearing House) wire transfer to any account, they will suspend their ability to transfer.
“So we’ve been working with the Bank of Guam, trying to correct these issues so that we don’t get suspended,” he said.
Atalig said suspension just for the PUA suspended the government’s ability to wire transfer transact through ACH. “So to minimize that suspension and those issues, these are the reasons why we were converting people to paper checks to ensure that unless the [Labor’s software vendor] Geo Solutions correct the proper accounts and proper coding, then we can revert them back to direct deposits,” he said.
Atalig said he couldn’t take the risk of freezing up his ability to do ACH transfers for other vendor payments and non-PUA related matters, including the government payroll, so he had to take those measures.