April 16, 2020
[UNIVERSITY PARK, FL]
Consumers are faced with many challenges as they deal with the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic and the resulting state of emergency. In response, Congress enacted the CARES Act to “provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic” and provides for stimulus payments to be dispersed to the public. While the CARES Act does not explicitly designate these payments as exempt from garnishment, the NCBA believes that these funds should be treated similarly to other government payments that are exempt from garnishment (e.g., social security, disability, and veterans’ benefits). NCBA already has and will continue to encourage its members to lead in identifying, offering, and utilizing existing hardship policies and extending hardship accommodations, including the cessation of garnishments, to any consumer who is adversely affected by the current health crisis.
As the CARES Act authorizes the Treasury Department to issue “regulations or other guidance as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of” the Act, NCBA supports the Treasury Department to establish regulations that would allow banks to preclude these much needed stimulus payments from any form of garnishment. The NCBA is committed to ensuring that the much-needed emergency assistance be utilized exclusively by the country’s most vulnerable in their time of need.