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Mandatory direct deposits soon to begin for ASG employees

Paper paychecks to become a thing of the past
fili@samoanews.com

The Treasury Department is phasing out paper paychecks for employees of ASG — the executive, legislative and judicial branches — and they will be replaced with a mandatory direct deposit into the employee’s bank account as Zions Bank fully takes over the processing of ASG’s payroll. 
 
This move does not include the semi-autonomous authorities, according to Treasurer Dr. Falema’o ‘Phil’ M. Pill, who is looking at later next month for the mandatory direct deposit policy to take effect, and employees without direct deposit are being urged to set it up as soon as possible.
 
Last year, ASG and Zions Bank — which does not plan to open a branch in the territory — signed an agreement for the Utah based financial institution to officially take over from Bank of Hawai’i the processing of the government’s payroll system, which covers the executive branch, the Fono and the Judicial branch.
 
ASG had moved to change its payroll processing vendor after BoH initially announced in late 2012 it was closing down operations in the territory. However, the bank, after pleas from Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, has since delayed indefinitely its departure.
 
Zions Bank officially took over the payroll task on Oct. 1 last year, and has been going through a testing phase for handling the payroll system with ASG Treasury.
 
Asked when the mandatory direct deposit policy for employees will go into effect, the ASG Treasurer said “it starts when the new switchover to Zions bank takes effect in mid-February — the 4th pay period of the calendar year.”
 
He urged employees to sign up now for direct deposit at the Payroll Division and confirmed that this new policy applies only to employees of the executive branch, the Fono and the Judicial branch, as their payrolls are handled by Treasury.
 
Pili says the semi autonomous entities of government — the authorities such as ASCC, ASTCA and ASPA — have their own payroll systems.
 
“The direct deposit is the way to facilitate our banking needs today,” he said of the benefits of direct deposit. “Using technology to its fullest and keeping up with the cutting edge of technology using on-line banking services and many other innovative ideas available to us today and in the future is highly encouraged.”
 
“This is a great way to prep the younger generation in managing their personal finances. Everyone should take advantage of this feature! Why is the government so inspired in having everyone on this direct deposit movement? Because it will help our people manage their finances better and it's cost effective for the government,” he said.
 
Pili declined to provide a specific dollar amount when asked how much ASG is paying Zions Bank for the payroll processing but he did point out, “it’s astronomically less than what BoH is currently charging us.”
 
Since the government first revealed early last year that Zions Bank would be taking over payroll processing and payment, the ASG Treasurer has encouraged ASG employees to sign up for direct deposit with either BoH, ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank or the person’s  financial institution in the U.S.
 
Pili told reporters last September that both the governor and lieutenant governor are strongly advocating that those who are without bank accounts to set up an account so their checks can be directly deposited.



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