Demand Progress

Stop big banks from taking your stimulus checks!

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    Stop big banks from taking your stimulus checks!

    Petition to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and to members of Congress:
    It is totally unacceptable for banks to take stimulus checks and apply them to private debts and garnishments. These checks are designed to help people pay rent and other bills, and keep our economy from collapse. Congress and the Treasury Department must order banks and debt collectors to stop taking people's stimulus checks in this way.

    This week millions of Americans should be getting their stimulus checks in their bank accounts. But some of you may never see that money -- because the Trump Administration is allowing big banks to take it away.

    The American Prospect revealed that the Treasury Department is telling banks they can seize customers' stimulus checks in order to cover old debts or fees.1 Banks can do this even if you thought your account with them was closed.

    We cannot allow Wall Street and the big banks to undermine these desperately needed economic stimulus funds. These deposits are designed to help people pay their rent and put food on the table. We have to stop the banks from taking that money away from people who need it.

    Sign the petition: Tell Congress and the Treasury Department to stop banks from taking away your stimulus check!

    Congress prevented governments from seizing the stimulus checks to pay state and federal debts, except for child support. Congress didn't extend the same ban to private debt collectors, but gave the Treasury Department the power to do it themselves.

    Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown urged the Treasury Department to do just that, and pass create new rules to protect the stimulus checks from greedy banks.

    Instead, in extraordinary conference call audio obtained by The American Prospect, the Treasury Department told big banks that they had the freedom to seize the stimulus checks to offset an old loan or past fees.

    Some governors, like Jay Inslee in Washington State, have issued orders to stop banks and private debt collectors in their states from seizing individuals' stimulus funds.2 But most Americans aren't getting that help, and we need the Treasury Department to act now. 

    We're facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the worst pandemic since the influenza of 1918. These stimulus checks, which should be bigger than just $1200, are still essential for workers facing dire financial needs. For many households, these checks are crucial to putting food on the table or paying rent.

    That's why we have to stop the big banks from taking them out of our pockets. Will you help?

    Add your name: Tell Congress and the Treasury Department to stop banks from taking away your stimulus check!

    1. The American Prospect, "Your Coronavirus Check Is Coming. Your Bank Can Grab It.," April 14, 2020.
    2. Proclamation of Governor Jay Inslee, April 14, 2020.