March 17, 2021

NAFCU addresses CU efforts to release EIPs to members, availability of funds

CapitolNAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt yesterday issued a statement in response to the ongoing roll out of economic impact payments (EIPs) to consumers. In addition, the association joined with several financial services trades to specify that funds from the initial wave of EIPs issued by the IRS will be sent to banks and credit unions today.

"Credit unions are working to get stimulus funds into their members’ accounts as soon as possible," said Hunt. "Credit unions are not for profit regulated depository institutions who protect their members’ funds with the safety of the full faith and credit of the US Government, unlike fintech payment providers.

"With that safety comes rules credit unions have to follow, including IRS instructions related to funds availability,” added Hunt. “As the IRS sends additional batches of stimulus payments to millions of Americans in need of economic assistance, credit unions will work with members to ensure prompt availability of funds as soon as the IRS has allowed. Credit unions' entire purpose is to serve their members."

In the joint statement, the group of financial services organizations noted that funds will be made to members and customers as soon as they are received by financial institutions and highlighted that it was up to the IRS to decide when the money would be distributed and made available for consumers.

Some Americans began receiving their EIPs over the weekend after President Joe Biden signed the relief bill into law Thursday; payments are expected to continue through the month. NAFCU and other groups had urged Congress to pass legislation to protect the payments from garnishment, and have asked for additional clarity regarding processing. Although Congress did not take action on garnishment, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order prohibiting garnishment of EIPs for recipients in his state. NAFCU will continue to monitor the issue.

The association will continue to engage with lawmakers to ensure credit unions are equipped with the tools needed to help their members amid the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Stay tuned to NAFCU Today for the latest updates.