The $21.4 billion State Employees' Credit Union of Raleigh, N.C. said it has banned wage garnishment as a collection tool.
North Carolina law already prohibits wage garnishment as an option for collecting debts such as car loans, credit card debt and other personal debt items, but SECU–which has members in Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, where garnishing wages to collect these debts is a legal option–has decided to eliminate the practice for SECU members in all states.
Phil Greer, senior vice president of loan administration for the nation’s second-largest credit union, cites a stressful economic environment as a reason for the ban.
“In this economic environment, with the increased financial stress on members from layoffs, furloughs, and cutbacks, wage garnishment can further heighten the family crises that are now occurring to many fine, dependable SECU members,” Greer explained. “Wage garnishment is also highly disruptive to the employer/employee relationship for members who are continuing to work, creating additional stress in the work environment.”
The 1.6 million-member credit union still supports garnishing wages for social obligations such as taxes, child support, alimony and fraud, Greer said, but “working directly with the member on personal debts is the better, fairer choice in this economic climate.”