President Surangel Whipps Jr. stated that the government must take action with what he said is a discriminatory act by two Guam banks based in Palau, which froze Palauans’ accounts that received Economic Impact Payments from the US IRS.
Whipps believes that the act by the two Guam-based banks is discriminatory to Palauans. “They see a Palauan last name and assumed that we’ve done something wrong. Let’s stop the payments and investigate,” stated President Whipps. “I asked the Governor of Guam to talk to their banks. If Bank of Hawaii is not applying this, then why are you doing it?”
However, Whipps says that Palau has a choice. “They owned the banks and they can do what they want but we also have a choice. Palau has money in these banks. Many states have money in these banks. Let’s move them to banks that favor us.”
There is an ongoing lawsuit against Bank of Guam by people whose accounts were affected. Whipps said that he hopes that the banks will realize that they did not do the right thing, and discriminated in their actions.
“Government must take action, we need to show them we have a choice,” asserted President Whipps.
In May last year, information was released by IRS for non-filers with US social security numbers to file for an Economic Impact Payment. Many people with US Social Security numbers went online and filed with the US IRS and were approved for payment. One of the instructions was to provide a bank account number where payment can be directly deposited.
Many such applicants provided their local bank accounts including account holders with Bank of Guam and Bank Pacific. Those accounts were “placed on hold” due to the EIP payment and to clear their eligibility with the bank in order to have the hold on their accounts released.
With an impasse between the banks and account holders, representatives of the account holders have retained an attorney to file a suit on their behalf.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *