On April 1, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued the “Garnishment of Accounts Containing Federal Benefit Payments” booklet, which is new to the Comptroller’s Handbook. The booklet contains interagency guidance and examination procedures. On May 29, 2013, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, US Department of the Treasury; Social Security Administration; US Department of Veterans Affairs; US Railroad Retirement Board; and US Office of Personnel Management adopted as final an interim rule to amend their regulation governing the garnishment of certain federal benefit payments that are directly deposited to accounts at financial institutions. The final rule was effective June 28, 2013.The “Garnishment of Accounts Containing Federal Benefit Payments” booklet
establishes procedures that financial institutions must follow when they receive a garnishment order against an account holder who receives certain types of federal benefit payments by direct deposit; and
requires financial institutions that receive such a garnishment order to determine the sum of such federal benefit payments deposited to the account during a two-month period and ensure that the account holder has access to an amount equal to that sum or to the current balance of the account, whichever is lower.
This booklet “applies to all national banks and federal savings associations. All national banks and federal savings associations, including community banks, should implement procedures to ensure that they appropriately address protected funds in their customers’ accounts.”