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Comptroller, Treasurer Receive Awards for Direct-Deposit Campaign

Contact: Bob King at 860-703-3311
or Pat O'Neil at 860 702-3277

The New England Automated Clearing House Association will honor State Comptroller Nancy Wyman and State Treasurer Christopher B. Burnham Friday with 1997 Excellence Awards for their work moving thousands of state workers to direct deposit of pay.

Wyman and Burnham collaborated on a project that resulted in a 54% increase in direct deposit activity for state employees. More than half of all state workers are now paid by electronic transfer; instead of a check they receive a deposit notice. Money goes in their accounts with more speed, convenience and safety, the two state officeholders said.

"Direct deposit is widely used in the private sector to streamline payroll functions," said Wyman. "The program makes life easier for everyone--payroll officers, managers, and employees alike." The Comptroller said her office has also eliminated much of the paper flow in the state's vendor-payment process. "Direct deposit is a continuation of this trend," she added. "Like progressive businesses, we're aiming for a paperless environment."

"Direct deposit is consistent with our mission to increase efficiencies and economies throughout government," Burnham said. Based on industry figures, Burnham estimated that the increased participation in direct deposit saves the state of Connecticut hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The savings do not count increased efficiencies in the workplace.

Burnham and Wyman and credited a months-long campaign in which banks and state payroll/personnel offices set up direct-deposit "fairs" at state agencies to interest workers in the idea. Direct deposit had been offered for years but never effectively marketed, according to OSC Payroll Services Director Gary Reardon. The officials credited the banks and payroll officers for using creativity -- some banks offered incentives such as prize drawings and free checking -- and hard work to make the project such a big success.

Also, direct-deposited funds were also made available the same day as checks are issued, a change from past practice in which direct-deposit employees had to wait a day for their funds. Virtually all banks in the state cooperate with the direct-deposit program.

Harry E. Carlsson, President and CEO of NEACH, is scheduled to present the awards in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday at 79 Elm St., Hartford, in the 5th floor auditorium. A reception will follow.

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For Immediate Release
June 19, 1997

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