Bank of Guam has returned EIP funds back to US Internal Revenue Service that were sent in “error” to 111 account holders at Bank of Guam Branch in Palau, according to response letter sent by President & CEO Joaquin P.L.G. Cook of the Bank of Guam to President Tommy Remengesau Jr.

Furthermore, the bank said they cannot “terminate holds” that were placed on accounts as requested by President Remengesau in his August 14th letter.

Letter asserts that the Bank’s “actions were based on its responsibility to monitor and prevent unlawful activity” in its institution and did not base their action solely on Palau’s Ministry of State press release, although it did serve to bring the matter to their attention.

Mr. Cook assured that the account that were already receiving US Social Security retirement, survivor, disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) through direct deposit were credited and not placed on holds.  “The bank has the ability to identify all of the aforementioned automatic payments processed by the U.S. Government and EIP deposits in question.”

The bank letter also stated that account holders that provided their copy of the 2018 or 2019 IRS Tax Returns were credited and no holds were placed on their deposits.

President Remengesau’s August 14th letter to Bank of Guam had expressed disappointment over the bank’s action to place hold on accounts that received EIP funds without a direct order from US IRS to do so in the first place.

Remengesau had insisted in his letter that if there is an issue, it should be resolved by the US IRS and the beneficiary.

“The fact that you have now reported these holds to the IRS does not change the fact that you imposed these holds in the first place, without any request to do so by the IRS…Without a specific response from IRS, these funds should not just be held indefinitely” stated Remengesau.

The bank’s response insisted that it had acted “lawfully and fairly.  “To the extent that the Bank was able to verify the account holder’s eligibility, we did not place hold on those accounts.  However, for all cases referred to IRS, the feedback we have received so far indicates that those account holders were not eligible to receive EIP.”

The bank reported that they have been instructed to return EIP funds deposited to 111 accounts in Palau to IRS.  Copy of redacted letter from IRS was provided with the letter.

Response from the Office of the President regarding the latest response from Bank of Guam stated, “The Bank of Guam has responded by referring to a small fraction of the accounts affected. In reality, there are still many Bank of Guam customers in limbo, and this is not acceptable to Palau. The end of the line is when Bank of Guam behaves lawfully and treats its Palau customers with respect by resolving all outstanding holds.”

The bank expressed that it had served Palauan community for over 30 years and value the partnership and even though they cannot terminate the hold as requested, they will continue to treat the matter with “highest urgency.”

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4 Comments

  1. As I said before regarding the Stimulus money that was deposited to Belauans who filled there IRS taxes that year before they moved back to Palau island through the Bank of Guam because they hold there savings or checking account there. Based on what we heard, Belauans who were working in USA and filled there taxes in the States they live we’re able to get Stimulus funds which IRS sent after they looked at there records through Tax filing. Just because they moved back to different places to live doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified to receive the Stimulus check. We know for fact that they we’re automatically eligible to get Stimulus funds, which IRS distributed to there account in there Bank, somehow, most we’re sent to Bank of Guam. Bank of Guam should notify each account holder to make sure they know what’s happening to the money they’re holding, instead they send them back to IRS instead of letting the bank customers get there money. Like I said before,Guam Bank didn’t wanted to be responsible to pay Stimulus funds back to IRS because that’s a lot of money, if Bank of Guam finding out later that most Islanders, Belauans weren’t qualified to receive any, it will be Guam’s Bank responsibility to reimburse IRS because Guam Bank think that Belauan who hold those accounts that received Stimulus money already withdraw all there Stimulus funds and don’t wanted to pay back. Assumed the bank holders weren’t eligible, especially if your Belauans living in Palau island now.

  2. I am just wondering, did IRS asked or give a Bank of Guam a permission to find out if Bank account holder is qualified to receive the Stimulus money. It’s very odd to figure out how Bank of Guam treated each customer. The moral of this story about Stimulus money that we’re sent by IRS to these eligible citizens we’re being complicated by lock of understanding by Bank of Guam in Palau island in terms of trust!! Makes me think, they discriminate Belauans even though they said they’ve had a Bank of Guam in Palau island for more than thirty years serving people, that is bunch of bull Sh……t.!!

  3. How do we know that the money has been forwarded to IRS. BOG SHOULD PROVIDE EACH CUSTOMERS A RECEIPT THAT IRS Received that money. Fishy!

  4. The best way or easy way out is move all your account to the other bank. BOG is not the only bank in Palau then we will see if they could say open for another 30 more years.

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