ASG requires all employees to have direct deposit by March of this year
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — All government employees are required to use direct deposit by the beginning of March this year, according to a Jan. 23 memorandum issued by acting governor Talauega E. V Ale, who directed that employees must be enrolled in direct deposit by Feb. 28 to receive payments from ASG.
Talauega also directed cabinet members to work with the Treasury Department to determine which of their employees are not currently enrolled in direct deposit for their payroll or other reimbursement to ensure they are enrolled by this deadline.
According to the memo, beginning Mar. 01, 2023 all payments made by ASG for wages, stipends, and expense reimbursement to government employees will be made by electronic funds transfer commonly known as “direct deposit”.
“This will allow ASG to process payments to its employees in the most efficient and economical manner,” Talauega explained. “Direct deposit allows ASG to electronically deposit payroll or other payments directly into an employee's account.”
Additionally, the deposit can be made into any financial institution that the employee chooses so long as it is capable of receiving a direct deposit.
“Electronic payment through direct deposit provides a fast, convenient, and inexpensive way to process payroll,” Talauega said about the benefits for direct deposits.
“Your payroll check is sent directly to your bank account on pay day morning — on time, every time. There is no waiting for the check nor waiting in lines to deposit or to cash your check,” he said.
While many ASG employees have already taken advantage of having their payments sent via direct deposit, Talauega said there are currently employees in various departments, agencies, or other offices, who are not enrolled in direct deposit.
“This causes inefficiencies, costs, and potential errors that can be avoided through the use of direct deposit. In addition to lowering costs, electronic payments increase security for the employee and ASG,” he said.
“It also helps protect the environment through the elimination of paper checks,” Talauega declared.
Samoa News notes that there have been efforts by past Administrations to encourage employees to use direct deposit — which is usually received in the bank the weekend prior to the government pay day, which is a Monday.
However, there have been employees who are reluctant and want their paper pay check.
The reaction of ASG employees who prefer paper paychecks remains to be seen and what effect it will have on this new policy, which other employees prefer.
ASG employees who bank with U.S-based financial institutions such as banks and credit unions have been using direct deposits for many years and there’s been an increase in recent months as ANZ Bank left the territory, leaving only the government owned Territorial Bank of American Samoa, which is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
(Editor’s note: This may prove to be a bonanza for TBAS as those individuals without checking or savings accounts scramble to open accounts.)