SAG-AFTRA Unveils Residuals Direct Deposit

Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic

The move may mark the beginning of the end for millions of paper checks.

SAG-AFTRA said Tuesday that after successfully testing its residuals direct deposit process with local members across the country, automated residual payments will be available to all eligible members nationwide as of May 1.

Currently, the union processes four million residuals paper checks annually for 270,000 people. The hope is that direct deposit will make a dent in those figures.

The direct deposit process is powered by technology from software/services firm Exactuals (which was purchased by City National Bank in 2018), and with the participation of Entertainment Partners (itself recently sold). The announcement comes a year after pilot testing was first announced.

“SAG-AFTRA is very proud to be a leader in bringing this landmark process to fruition,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris in a statement. “The secure, efficient direct deposit of residuals is a remarkable achievement involving innovations and behind-the-scene changes to the industry’s status quo. It’s the latest in a series of initiatives the union is undertaking, modernizing how we work with our employers and service our members.”

“As we move forward in the digital era, SAG-AFTRA will continue to embrace ways to create efficiency for the union and its members,” said David White, the union’s national executive director. “This is an exciting member-led achievement for our union and we are thrilled to expand this program to our membership nationwide. By leveraging technology and process innovation, this effort represents an opportunity for the entire industry to advance in practical, commonsense ways.”

Under the new system, which is optional, residuals payments received from studios and payroll houses will be distributed electronically at least once a week to the bank account of a member’s choosing. Residuals statements and check stubs are then viewable online through sagaftra.org. Members who don’t sign up for direct deposit will continue to receive paper checks and statements.

For more on this subject, visit THR‘s labor page.