Amata Welcomes Final Passage of Banking Provision to Speed Up Financial Services in American Samoa

May 23, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Tuesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata welcomed final House passage of a banking provision that she introduced last year to reduce time waiting for checks to clear in American Samoa. The bill has already passed the Senate and now goes to President Trump to be signed into law.

“Making progress in Washington is often a matter of persistence,” said Aumua Amata. “I introduced this provision more than a year ago to correct an oversight in U.S. law, which places an overly long hold on checks cashed in American Samoa and the Marianas. This solution reduces that wait time to make it equitable with the rest of the U.S., where wait times in the states are usually five days or less. The unfair and unnecessarily long wait was causing hardship for both individuals and small businesses in American Samoa and the Marianas who need to be able to count on ready access to their finances, so this is a real improvement.”


Congresswoman Amata in Committee in the Spring of 2018
Congresswoman Amata in Committee work in the Longworth House Office Building earlier this year.


The Congresswoman’s legislation passed as part of larger banking legislation, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155). Specifically, the provision reduces the lengthy 30-day hold on checks and puts the islands on equal footing with the states where the hold rarely exceeds 5 business days. In addition to the Congresswoman’s provision, the broader legislation seeks to improve access to capital for small businesses throughout the country. The reduction in wait times for checks to clear fits the larger scope of the bill, as it allows prompt access to finances for small businesses and individuals.

Originally, the Congresswoman introduced the measure last year as H.R. 385, To amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. While the measure first passed the House rapidly in June of 2017 as part of a different bill, it finally made its way through the entire legislative process Tuesday by passing both houses as part of the same legislation.

“I’m pleased to see our provision get over the finish line, and improve what has been a long-standing frustration for our people,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “Multiple colleagues in the House, Committee chairmen and senior Senators were part of the process along the way, and I appreciate each of their efforts and willingness to understand how this affects people in American Samoa and the Marianas.”