Some customers of the Bank of Guam -Palau Branch that applied for US Economic Impact Payments and received payments from US IRS through direct deposit to their bank accounts, found their accounts temporarily frozen by the Bank.
A notification message sent to these account holders from Bank of Guam’s Bank Secrecy/Anti-Money Laundering Department Manager Ms. Galimba, informed them that funds in their accounts have been placed on temporary hold. The message further states that the account holders may not be eligible to receive the funds and need to contact the bank to confirm their eligibility.
The message from the bank refers to press release issued by the Embassy of Palau in Washington D.C., advising that the Economic Impact Payments from IRS are not for citizens of Palau living in Palau with US Social Security numbers.
Minister ElbuchelSadang from Palau’s Ministry of Finance said they’ve received calls from citizens regarding the issue. He added that Palau government will not get involved but he believed that no fraud was “involved”. He said the issue is partly due to miscommunications between Palauans, Ministry of State and Palau Embassy in Washington, D.C. “We announced to It to all Palauans with U.S. Social Security numbers and so everyone went into the system and applied and many received the financial assistance.”
Some Palauans that went online and applied and received payments through Bank of Guam were deemed ineligible and had accounts placed on temporary hold by the bank. They were urged to contact the bank to have their eligibility confirmed.US IRS site provides information on how to return the funds to IRS if one receives the money but does not meet the eligibility requirements.
When contacted for clarification of Bank of Guam policy, BOG-Palau Branch referred Island Times to Guam office. Guam Office responded that due to client confidentiality they were unable to provide more information.