Bank of Guam President and Chief Executive Office Joaquin P.L.G. Cook said that the steps Bank of Guam took to place customer accounts with EIP payments on “temporary hold” was based on discussion with US Internal Revenue Service, in response to Delegate Jonathan Isechal’s letter questioning the basis of the Bank’s decision.
“The instructions we received from the IRS indicate that the Bank has taken the appropriate steps,” stated Mr. Joaquin Cook, Bank of Guam President.Furthermore he said, “The Bank’s actions were done after numerous consultations with the IRS, and in all discussions they continue to reference their FAQ and have recommended each account holder contact the IRS directly.”
In response, a joint letter signed by both House Speaker Sabino Anastacio and Senate President HOkkonsBaules expressed dissatisfaction with Bank of Guam’s response.
The letter states that number of concerns raised by Isechal were not addressed by the Bank of Guam’s response, only an explanation of the steps the bank took “without providing adequate justification for the action taken.”
OEK leadership raised a concern that Bank of Guam based its official decision on a social media post having been “informed” that it should not rely on the social media post for official action.
The letter from OEK leadership also states that there is an “apparent discrimination” in the application of the bank’s policy regarding Economic Impact Payments. They questioned why the bank was “independently substantiating” EIP payments outside of the LEADS Program.
“The United States, by sending EIP to these account holders, has made presumptive determination of eligibility. Without instruction from the United States, it is inappropriate for the Bank of Guam to subsequently place a burden on the recipient to then prove their eligibility,” asserted OEK leadership.
President Remengesau said that his Office will be sending letter “to respectfully request” for the basis of the bank’s action to place hold on EIP recipients accounts.
“We continue to believe it is not the role of the bank to determine whether person is qualified or not qualified to received the EIP payment,” stated Remengesau.
He said that it is the responsibility of Financial Institutions Commission and Palau government to find answers, to know the basis of bank’s action.
It was reported at the press conference on Wednesday that both Bank of Guam and BankPacific placed holds on accounts that received EIP payments.
In May, 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 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 account holders found out that their accounts have been “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.
Some of the account holders reported severe financial hardship as result of the unexpected hold placed on their accounts and letter by one such account holder sought assistance from President Remengesau on behalf of herself and other account holders.

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