Federal Holiday Schedule

Also known as bank holidays, Federal Reserve holidays are calendar dates on which financial institutions are closed. Ten days out of the year, Federal Reserve banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions close for business. January 1st, or New Year's Day; the third Thursday in January, which is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Presidents' Day, which falls on the second Monday in February; the last Monday in May, celebrated as Memorial Day; the 4th of July; and Labor Day, typically the first Monday in September are all Federal Reserve holidays. Other dates include Columbus Day, observed on the second Monday in October; Veterans Day on November 11th; Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday in November; and Christmas Day, always on December 25th. While Federal employees and the general public enjoy taking time off, bank holidays sometimes coincide with installment payment due dates. Credit card account holders, Federal and state taxpayers, and debtors with installment payments may all run the risk of incurring late charges and additional interest when due dates fall on a day when banks are closed.

The Federal holiday schedule is established each year through the Federal Reserve Bank, known as the Fed. As the primary economic watchdog of the United States, the Fed controls the purse strings of America by monitoring the flow of cash in the nation's economy. Under the direction of the U.S. Congress, the Fed has the power to raise or lower interest rates to slow or stimulate consumer buying power, thereby controlling inflation or recession. In addition to being the nation's financial regulatory agency, the Fed also establishes fiscal regulations which protect borrowers from unfair lending practices. The Truth in Lending law makes creditors, banks, and other lending institutions tow the line when it comes to charging borrowers fair interest rates and implementing fair policies for payment due dates, collection processes, grace periods and interest penalties. Credit card issuers have reportedly been notorious for accessing late penalties and increasing APRs (annual percentage rates) for debtor payments received on national observance dates and weekends. Since payments cannot be posted on dates banks are closed, an essentially timely payment could be assessed as late. While some unwary debtors may never notice or complain about hidden charges that magically appear on revolving charge account statements, the Fed takes this issue seriously.

Assessing penalties for payments deemed late due to Federal reserve holidays is like the proverbial butcher who puts a fat thumb on the scales to make meat weigh more. The Bible is adamant about merchants and creditors who deal falsely with unwary consumers: "A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight" (Proverbs 11:1). The twenty-second chapter of Proverbs, verses 22 and 23 also admonish: "Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate. For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them." Because of the high cost of financing, consumers are already burdened with high interest installment payments. Unscrupulous creditors who add frivolous fees for payments declared late due to bank holidays take unfair advantage of individuals who strive to pay on time and maintain a good credit reputation.

Creditors are aware that because banks and other financial institutions are closed due to a Federal holiday schedule, payments cannot post until the next business day. Therefore, many creditors do not impose late penalties for payments posted after a due date which falls on holidays. The Fed is concerned about those unscrupulous creditors, especially credit card issuers who now can legally impose these additional fees, since no standardized regulation exists. Borrowers who repeatedly incur late fees and increased APRs because payment postings are delayed due to bank holiday due dates could realize higher monthly payments. Higher monthly payments due to excessive late charges could potentially wreak havoc with a borrower's credit worthiness. Credit reporting agencies examine not only how much a debtor pays but also how timely installment payments are made. Payments that are consistently late reflect poorly on consumer creditability. The Feds also fear that some creditors intentionally set payment due dates to fall on a Federal holiday schedule in order to collect additional late fees. The Federal Reserve Bank is seeking ways to standardize the way creditors post payments and impose regulations which would require creditors nationwide to post timely payments, which happen to fall on bank holidays and weekends, on the next business day.

The Internal Revenue Service, the largest creditor in the U.S., currently gives taxpayers a break for payment due dates that coincide with bank off days or weekends without imposing late fees. Taxpayer payments that are either postmarked on the tax due date or received on the next business day following the date banks and federal offices are closed are considered timely. The Fed suggests that other creditors consider adopting a similar standardized policy. Wise borrowers should request payment schedules from banks, credit unions and other lending institutions and inquire about policies for due dates that fall on Federal Reserve holidays and weekends. It won't hurt to get clarification in advance about payment policies which might negatively affect a borrower's credit and future financing potential. Discussions about payments received during a Federal holiday schedule are still pending before the Federal Reserve Bank. But if the Feds have their way, creditors are going to have to take a holiday from questionable payment collection policies and adhere to federally imposed lending laws.

Us Post Office Holidays

US Post Office Holidays are those which the government observes or recognizes for the significance of an event, person, or people that have been important to, or made a positive impact on the nation. The majority of holidays celebrated in America have no religious value or origin, despite the fact that the very word 'holiday' means 'holy day'. The word is interchangeable with 'celebration'. All governmental offices that are deemed unofficial are closed for the duration of the day and employees still receive wages for the day. Those who are curious as to when certain events occur during the year can easily find a list of US national holidays. Having specific times of remembrance and reflection are important for a country to remember the values the country was founded upon so the verse can ring true, "And I [God] will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Genesis 12:2).

Martin Luther King Day is one of the US Post Office holidays, and is held in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every year, people across the nation take time to remember the famous man who was a prominent leader of the Civil Rights movement. The Reverend's memorable speech preceded the passing of laws by the United States Congress which prohibited discrimination in major public sectors, such as voting, education and employment. He was assassinated in 1968, and since his death his birthday, January fifteenth has been dedicated to his memory. Every February on the third of the month another one of the U.S Post Office holidays occurs. The date originally began as George Washington's birthday, which for a long time was recognized as holding significance. Washington's Birthday was February twenty-second, and Abraham Lincoln's was February twelfth. The days were combined and are now observed as President's day and honor the memory of all who have served in the office. However, some still choose to view the event as Washington's Birthday. President's Day was deemed an official holiday in the 1970's.

Another day on the list of US National holidays is Memorial Day. The date began as a time where people remembered those who had died in the Civil war. President Richard Nixon decided that the time should honor not only those who had died during the Civil war, but all the men and women who had lost their lives in service of the country. In 1971 he deemed that the fourth Monday in May should be a time of remembrance and memorial. Every year, a customary practice is for the current president or vice president to give a speech and present a wreath at the cemetery war victims of war have been laid to rest. Many cities or towns hold special parades on this day, and many churches and schools set aside time for recognition and reflection for those who gave their lives for the service of the country.

The fourth of July has been recognized as the country's birthday since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Independence Day is one of the most celebrated of the U. S. Post Office holidays. The document declared that the existing thirteen British colonies in America were free from the King and parliament of Britain. Leaders from each of the colonies signed the declaration, written by Thomas Jefferson, and the United States of America officially became an independent nation. The holiday is one full of parades, picnics, fireworks, and patriotism nationwide. Fags fluttering in the breezes can be seen everywhere and festivals are plentiful, as the majority of Americans celebrate the country's birthday.

The list of US national holidays also includes Labor Day. This federal holiday is celebrated on the first Monday in September every year. The day was established in as a day to honor all those labor for a living. The United Brotherhood Carpenters founded by Peter J. McGuire was one of the people to voice the thought that such a day should be observed as a U.S. Post
Office holidays. In 1882 a group known as the Knights of Labor chose to hold a parade on the first Monday in September. In March of 1887 a law was passed declaring the day an official holiday to be recognized by the government, and since then the day has been celebrated with parades and speeches made by political leaders. As Memorial Day is considered by most to be the start of summer, Labor Day marks the end of the season, and is also the time of year when many schools re-open across the country.

Columbus Day marks the arrival of the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus to the shores of the New World. The holiday is held on October twelfth, being the day Columbus arrived, and a date on the list of US Post Office holidays. Celebrations for this event usually take place on the second Monday in October and usually involve parades and the closing of minor governmental offices, like banks and post-offices, as the date is on one of the US Post Office holidays. Armistice Day Was originally established to honor veterans of World War I but has since come to incorporate those of World War II as well, and took the title of Veteran's Day. The day now honors everyone who has served in all the wars of which the nation has been a part.

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular US Post Office holidays, and usually kicks off the Christmas season. Thanksgiving Day was established in 1621 in commemoration of the Pilgrim's arrival. The first settlers were taught by the American Indians skills of crop growing enabling the Pilgrims with the knowledge needed to live in the New World. Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with a feast, and before partaking of a bountiful harvest, people gather for a few moments of thanks. Christmas then follows, being held on the twenty-fifth of December, recognizing the birth of Jesus. The year then ends with the celebrations of New Year's, occurring on the December thirty-first, and ending in the beginning of January, being the last and technically first date on the list of US national holidays.

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