Wednesday, October 05, 2005

In times of disaster, direct deposit can be as basic as food and water

In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, thousands of Gulf residents continue to struggle to get “the basics” to survive—water, food, clothing and shelter. Thanks to the efforts of relief efforts like The American Red Cross and other local and national organizations, these needs are being met.

But what about their money? Where do you go when your credit union or bank is one of the many buildings damaged or washed away in the wake of the hurricanes? What about those who collect Social Security or pension checks? How do they continue to receive their benefits?

The best way to alleviate this worry is to use Direct Deposit. In a recent Dear Abby column, Dick Gregg, an official with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, wrote in saying that signing up for direct deposit into a bank or credit union account offers much needed peace of mind.

“Direct deposit is completely predicable. It gives people access to their money wherever they are, whenever they need it. It also means no lost or stolen checks because the payment goes straight into a person’s account.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank, as part of our Go Direct campaign, are encouraging all people—whether affected by the hurricane or not—to use direct deposit.”

Arranging direct deposit into your accounts is easy. Just call your financial institution to obtain the necessary forms to have your paycheck direct deposited into your account. (Verity members can call Member Services at (206) 440-9000 or (800) 444-4589. They can also send us an email.) In the case of direct depositing Federal benefit checks, you can call 800-333-1795 or visit www.GoDirect.org for more information.

Direct deposit has long been marketed for its convenience and speed. Now we can add “disaster preparedness” to its list of features-- and add "arrange Direct Deposit" to our personal disaster preparations at home.

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