SAG-AFTRA is offering members delivery of residual payments through direct deposit for the first time, replacing paper residuals checks.
The performers union, which has about 160,000 members, announced Wednesday it has entered into a multiyear agreement with Exactuals, a Los Angeles-based payments software company, to deliver residuals payments through direct deposit. SAG-AFTRA said Exactuals will serve as a third-party broker to facilitate transmission of data and funds between the studios and payroll houses to SAG-AFTRA and its members.
Processing of funds will be handled by Exactuals through City National Bank which will electronically transfer funds to member accounts at any checking account at a domestic bank. The service will be free of charge.
“Our members asked for the direct deposit of residuals and we have heard them loud and clear,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “We have long been in discussions with employers to make this happen and are delighted to announce this partnership.”
SAG-AFTRA did not disclose how soon the service would go into effect. “We are successfully beta testing with a group of members now and anticipate that we will roll out to the broader membership over the course of 2017,” a spokesperson said.
The union touted the deal as the first of its kind in the entertainment industry. David White, national executive director, said the agreement had been in the works for several years.
Valery Kotik, national director of residuals processing at SAG-AFTRA, said, “This long-overdue electronic delivery system will improve the efficiency of residuals processing and deliver payments to members quicker and more conveniently.”
SAG-AFTRA currently processes about 4 million residuals checks annually worth about $1 billion. It announced in 2014 that it had reduced the average waiting time for delivery of residual checks from eight weeks in 2013 to three weeks following extensive internal efforts.
SAG’s first residuals had come without a strike in 1952, when it worked out a deal for TV reruns. It then expanded the payments in 1960 when it obtained the first residuals on feature films sold to TV, following a seven-week strike that halted eight major productions, including Elizabeth Taylor’s “Butterfield 8” and Jack Lemmon’s “The Wackiest Ship in the Army.”
Studios agreed to pay residuals for movies produced after the date of the agreement, and paid $2.25 million to start the pension and health fund as compensation for movies produced before 1960.