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COVID-19

Big banks pledge overdraft relief so customers reap full benefits of COVID-19 checks

Nova Safo Apr 16, 2020
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Stimulus checks are fair game for private debt collectors. But big banks are offering relief for negative balances. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
COVID-19

Big banks pledge overdraft relief so customers reap full benefits of COVID-19 checks

Nova Safo Apr 16, 2020
Stimulus checks are fair game for private debt collectors. But big banks are offering relief for negative balances. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Stimulus payments have begun showing up in the bank accounts of tens of millions of people. That’s given rise to concerns about private debt collection. If you owe, the money the government is sending you is fair game.

But big banks have pledged that the money from the relief checks will not go toward negative balances or bank overdraft fees. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup say stimulus payments will not be used to make up for overdrawn accounts.

Many Americans have begun receiving up to $1,200 from the federal government as direct deposits.

But the $2 trillion CARES Act, which authorized the payments, did not exempt private debt collectors from coming after that money. Bank fees and overdrawn accounts count as private debt.

But the big banks say they’ll give their customers a temporary break on negative balances. That comes on top of other relief, such as deferred loan payments and waived fees for various transactions.

Americans are paying close attention to the expected stimulus money, which began arriving Wednesday. Online systems were overwhelmed at a number of banks as customers checked their accounts for the funds.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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