NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Wednesday announced that financial institutions across New Jersey have put in place measures to protect federal stimulus funds being provided to New Jerseyans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The American Rescue Plan is for the American people, not the banks and creditors,” Murphy said. “We want residents who have received their federal stimulus funds to be able to put it to use as they deem necessary. I am pleased that 50 banks and credit unions have signed on to our agreement to protect these federal payments being received by New Jerseyans from being garnished for past debts or overdrawn accounts.”
“We know that many New Jersey residents are facing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic. This initiative is aimed at making sure New Jerseyans can access their stimulus funds and use them to cover essential expenses during this critical time,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride. “We thank the banks and credit unions that have committed to providing stimulus payment protections to our residents and welcome additional institutions to join in this effort.”
The Murphy Administration secured support from Bank of America, Citibank, PNC Bank, TD Bank and Wells Fargo, in addition to 45 other federal and state-chartered banks and credit unions to protect the stimulus payments of New Jersey residents. More financial institutions are expected to sign on in the coming days. The New Jersey Bankers Association and the CrossState Credit Union Association have endorsed this initiative and are encouraging all their members to adopt these policies.
A third federal stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, was signed into law on March 11, 2021. As part of this federal stimulus package, the United States Department of the Treasury will mail to and deposit stimulus payments into the bank accounts of eligible Americans.
Under Governor Murphy’s initiative, New Jerseyans will be eligible for the following relief by participating financial institutions upon contacting their bank or credit union: Protected access to stimulus payment for at least 30-days.
Participating institutions have put in place measures to protect access to stimulus funds regardless of whether the consumer’s bank account is overdrawn or has a negative balance.
This service shall be available for a period of at least 30 days from receipt of funds in the consumer’s account and will apply to stimulus funds provided to New Jerseyans through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. For more information on COVID-19 related stimulus payment protections, and a list of participating institutions, click here.
Affected New Jerseyans should confirm with their financial institution when the overdrawn status or negative account balance will be reinstated, including any applicable fees.
If consumers do not see their institution on the list, they should contact their institution to request information about any available stimulus protection programs offered in response to COVID-19.
Additionally, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 233, that provides all stimulus payments issued to New Jerseyans under the American Rescue Plan Act to be exempt from, and will not be subject to, garnishment by private creditors and debt collectors. The Executive Order continues to allow for garnishment in connection with any action for, or any judgment awarding, any child support, spousal support, or family support, or any criminal restitution payable to victims.