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6500 - Consumer Protection


Appendix E to Part 229--Commentary

I. Introduction

A.  Background

1.  The Board interpretations, which are labeled "Commentary" and follow each section of Regulation CC (12 CFR Part 229), provide background material to explain the Board's intent in adopting a particular part of the regulation; the Commentary also provides examples to aid in understanding how a particular requirement is to work. Under section 611(e) of the Expedited Funds Availability Act (12 U.S.C. 4010(e)), no provision of section 611 imposing any liability shall apply to any act done or omitted in good faith conformity with any rule, regulation, or interpretation thereof by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, notwithstanding the fact that after such act or omission has occurred, such rule, regulation, or interpretation is amended, rescinded, or determined by judicial or other authority to be invalid for any reason. The Commentary is an "interpretation" of any regulation by the Board within the meaning of section 611.

II. Section 229.2. Definitions.

A.  Background

1.  Section 229.2 defines the terms used in the regulation. For the most part, terms are defined as they are in section 602 of the Expedited Funds Availability Act (12 U.S.C. 4001). The Board has made a number of changes for the sake of clarity, to conform the terminology to that which is familiar to the banking industry, to define terms that are not defined in the EFA Act, and to carry out the purposes of the EFA Act. The Board also has incorporated by reference the definitions of the Uniform Commercial Code where appropriate. Some of Regulation CC's definitions are self-explanatory and therefore are not discussed in this Commentary.

B.  229.2(a) Account

1.  The EFA Act defines account to mean "a demand deposit account or similar transaction account at a depository institution." The regulation defines account, for purposes other than subpart D, in terms of the definition of "transaction account" in the Board's Regulation D (12 CFR part 204). This definition of account, however, excludes certain deposits, such as nondocumentary obligations (see 12 CFR 204.2(a)(1)(vii)), that are covered under the definition of "transaction account" in Regulation D. The definition applies to accounts with general third party payment powers but does not cover time deposits or savings deposits, including money market deposit accounts, even though they may have limited third party payment powers. The Board believes that it is appropriate to exclude these accounts because of the reference to demand deposits in the EFA Act, which suggests that the EFA Act is intended to apply only to accounts that permit unlimited third party transfers.

2.  The term account also differs from the definition of transaction account in Regulation D because the term account refers to accounts held at banks. Under subparts A and C, the term bank includes not only any depository institution, as defined in the EFA Act, but also any person engaged in the business of banking, such as a Federal Reserve bank, a Federal Home Loan bank, or a private banker that is not subject to Regulation D. Thus, accounts at these institutions benefit from the expeditious return requirements of subpart C.

3.  Interbank deposits, including accounts of offices of domestic banks or foreign banks or foreign banks located outside the United States, and direct and indirect accounts of the United States Treasury (including Treasury General Accounts and Treasury Tax and Loan deposits) are exempt from subpart B and, in connection therewith, subpart A. However, interbank deposits are included as accounts for purposes of subparts C and D and, in connection therewith, subpart A.

4.  The Check 21 Act defines account to mean any deposit account at a bank. Therefore, for purposes of subpart D and, in connection therewith, subpart A, account means any deposit, as that term is defined by § 204.2(a)(1)(i) of Regulation D, at a bank. Many deposits that are not accounts for purposes of the other subparts of Regulation CC, such as savings deposits, are accounts for purposes of subpart D.

C.  229.2(b) Automated Clearinghouse (ACH)

1.  The Board has defined automated clearinghouse as a facility that processes debit and credit transfers under rules established by a Federal Reserve bank operating circular governing automated clearinghouse items or the rules of an ACH association. ACH credit transfers are included in the definition of electronic payment.

2.  The reference to "debit and credit transfers" does not refer to the corresponding debit and credit entries that are part of the same transaction, but to different kinds of ACH payments. In an ACH credit transfer, the originator orders that its account be debited and another account credited. In an ACH debit transfer, the originator, with prior authorization, orders another account to be debited and the originator's account to be credited.

3.  A facility that handles only wire transfers (defined elsewhere) is not an ACH.

D.  229.2(c) Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

1.  ATM is not defined in the EFA Act. The regulation defines an ATM as an electronic device at which a natural person may make deposits to an account by cash or check and perform other account transactions. Point-of-sale terminals, machines that only dispense cash, night depositories, and lobby deposit boxes are not ATMs within the meaning of the definition, either because they do not accept deposits of cash or checks (e.g., point-of-sale terminals and cash dispensers) or because they only accept deposits (e.g., night depositories and lobby boxes) and cannot perform other transactions. A lobby deposit box or similar receptacle in which written payment orders or deposits may be placed is not an ATM.

2.  A facility may be an ATM within this definition even if it is a branch under state or federal law, although an ATM is not a branch as that term is used in this regulation.

E.  229.2(d) Available for Withdrawal

1.  Under this definition, when funds become available for withdrawal, the funds may be put to all uses for which the customer may use actually and finally collected funds in the customer's account under the customer's account agreement with the bank. Examples of such uses include payment of checks drawn on the account, certification of checks, electronic payments, and cash withdrawals. Funds are available for these uses notwithstanding provisions of other law that may restrict the use of uncollected funds (e.g., 18 U.S.C. 1004; 12 U.S.C. 331).

2.  If a bank makes funds available to a customer for a specific purpose (such as paying checks that would otherwise overdraw the customer's account and be returned for insufficient funds) before the funds must be made available under the bank's policy or this regulation, it may nevertheless apply a hold consistent with this regulation to those funds for other purposes (such as cash withdrawals). For purposes of this regulation, funds are considered available for withdrawal even though they are being held by the bank to satisfy an obligation of the customer other than the customer's potential liability for the return of the check. For example, a bank does not violate its obligations under this subpart by holding funds to satisfy a garnishment, tax levy, or court order restricting disbursements from the account; or to satisfy the customer's liablility arising from the certification of a check, sale of a cashier's or teller's check, guaranty or acceptance of a check, or similar transaction to be debited from the customer's account.

F.  229.2(e) Bank

1.  The Act uses the term depository institution, which it defines by reference to section 19(b)(1)(A)(i) through (vi) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 461(b)(1)(A)(i) through (vi)). This regulation uses the term bank, a term that conforms to the usage the Board has previously adopted in Regulation J. Bank is also used in articles 4 and 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code.

2.  Bank is defined to include depository institutions, such as commercial banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions as defined in the EFA Act, and U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks. For purposes of subpart B, the term does not include corporations organized under section 25A of the Federal Reserve Act, 12 U.S.C. 611--631 (Edge corporations) or corporations having an agreement or undertaking with the Board under section 25 of the Federal Reserve Act, 12 U.S.C. 601--604a (agreement corporations). For purposes of subparts C and D, and in connection therewith, Subpart A, any Federal Reserve bank, Federal Home Loan bank, or any other person engaged in the business of banking is regarded as a bank. The phrase "any other person engaged in the business of banking" is derived from U.C.C. 1--201(4), and is intended to cover entities that handle checks for collection and payment, such as Edge and agreement corporations, commercial lending companies under 12 U.S.C. 3101, certain industrial banks, and private bankers, so that virtually all checks will be covered by the same rules for forward collection and return, even though they may not be covered by the requirements of subpart B. For the purposes of subparts C and D, and in connection therewith, subpart A, the term also may include a state or a unit of general local government to the extent that it pays warrants or other drafts drawn directly on the state or local government itself, and the warrants or other drafts are sent to the state or local government for payment or collection.

3.  Unless otherwise specified, the term bank includes all of a bank's offices in the United States. The regulation does not cover foreign offices of U.S. banks.

4.  For purposes of subpart D and, in connection therewith, subpart A, the term bank also includes the Treasury of the United States and the United States Postal Service to the extent that they act as paying banks because the Check 21 Act includes these two entities in the definition of the term bank to the extent that they act as payors.

G.  229.2(f) Banking Day and (g) Business Day

1.  The EFA Act defines business day as any day excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Legal holiday, however, is not defined, and the variety of local holidays, together with the practice of some banks to close midweek, makes the Act's definition difficult to apply. The Board believes that two kinds of business days are relevant. First, when determining the day when funds are deposited or when a bank must perform certain actions (such as returning a check), the focus should be on a day that the bank is actually open for business. Second, when counting days for purposes of determining when funds must be available under the regulation or when notice of nonpayment must be received by the depositary bank, there would be confusion and uncertainty in trying to follow the schedule of a particular bank, and there is less need to identify a day when a particular bank is open. Most banks that act as intermediaries (large correspondents and Federal Reserve banks) follow the same holiday schedule. Accordingly, the regulation has two definitions: Business day generally follows the standard Federal Reserve bank holiday schedule (which is followed by most large banks), and banking day is defined to mean that part of a business day on which a bank is open for substantially all of its banking activities.

2.  The definition of banking day corresponds to the definition of banking day in U.C.C. 4--104(a)(3), except that a banking day is defined in terms of a business day. Thus, if a bank is open on Saturday, Saturday might be a banking day for purposes of the U.C.C., but it would not be a banking day for purposes of Regulation CC because Saturday is never a business day under the regulation.

3.  The definition of banking day is phrased in terms of when "an office of a bank is open" to indicate that a bank may observe a banking day on a per-branch basis. A deposit made at an ATM or off-premise facility (such as a remote depository or a lock box) is considered made at the branch holding the account into which the deposit is made for the purpose of determining the day of deposit. All other deposits are considered made at the branch at which the deposit is received. For example, under § 229.19(a)(1), funds deposited at an ATM are considered deposited at the time they are received at the ATM. On a calendar day that is a banking day for the branch or other location of the depositary bank at which the account is maintained, a deposit received at an ATM before the ATM's cut-off hour is considered deposited on that banking day, and a deposit received at an ATM after the ATM's cut-off hour is considered deposited on the next banking day of the branch or other location where the account is maintained. On a calendar day that is not a banking day for the account-holding location, all ATM deposits are considered deposited on that location's next banking day. This rule for determining the day of deposit also would apply to a deposit to an off-premise facility, such as a night depository or lock box, which is considered deposited when removed from the facility and available for processing under § 229.19(a)(3). If an unstaffed facility, such as a night depository or lock box, is on branch premises, the day of deposit is determined by the banking day at the branch at which the deposit is received, whether or not it is the branch at which the account is maintained.

H.  229.2(h) Cash

1.  Cash means U.S. coins and currency. The phrase in the EFA Act "including Federal Reserve notes" has been deleted as unnecessary. (See 31 U.S.C. 5103.)

I.  229.2(i) Cashier's Check

1.  The regulation adds to the second item in the Act's definition of cashier's check the phrase, "on behalf of the bank as drawer," to clarify that the term cashier's check is intended to cover only checks that a bank draws on itself. The definition of cashier's check includes checks provided to a customer of the bank in connection with customer deposit account activity, such as account disbursements and interest payments. The definition also includes checks acquired from a bank by noncustomers for remittance purposes, such as certain loan disbursement checks. Cashier's checks provided to customers or others are often labeled as "cashier's check," "officer's check," or "official check." The definition excludes checks that a bank draws on itself for other purposes, such as to pay employees and vendors, and checks issued by the bank in connection with a payment service, such as a payroll or a bill-paying service. Cashier's checks generally are sold by banks to substitute the bank's credit for the customer's credit and thereby enhance the collectibility of the checks. A check issued in connection with a payment service generally is provided as a convenience to the customer rather than as a guarantee of the check's collectibility. In addition, such checks are often more difficult to distinguish from other types of checks than are cashier's checks as defined by this regulation.

J.  229.2(j) Certified Check

1.  The EFA Act defines a certified check as one to which a bank has certified that the drawer's signature is genuine and that the bank has set aside funds to pay the check. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, certification of a check means the bank's signed agreement that it will honor the check as presented (U.C.C. 3--409). The regulation defines certified check to include both the EFA Act's and U.C.C.'s definitions.

K.  229.2(k) Check

1.  Check is defined in section 602(7) of the EFA Act as a negotiable demand draft drawn on or payable through an office of a depository institution located in the United States, excluding noncash items. The regulation includes six categories of instruments within the definition of check.

2.  The first category is negotiable demand drafts drawn on, or payable through or at, an office of a bank. As the definition of bank includes only offices located in the United States, this category is limited to checks drawn on, or payable through or at, a banking office located in the United States.

3.  The EFA Act treats drafts payable through a bank as checks, even though under the U.C.C. the payable-through bank is a collecting bank to make presentment and generally is not authorized to make payment (U.C.C. 4--106(a)). The EFA Act does not expressly address items that are payable at a bank. This regulation treats both payable-through and payable-at demand drafts as checks. The Board believes that treating demand drafts payable at a bank as checks will not have a substantial effect on the operations of payable-at banks--by far the largest proportion of payable-at items are not negotiable demand drafts, but time items, such as commercial paper, bonds, notes, bankers' acceptances, and securities. These time items are not covered by the requirements of the EFA Act or this regulation. (The treatment of payable-through drafts is discussed in greater detail in connection with the definitions of local check and paying bank.)

4.  The second category is checks drawn on Federal Reserve banks and Federal Home Loan banks. Principal and interest payments on federal debt instruments often are paid with checks drawn on a Federal Reserve bank as fiscal agent of the United States, and these fiscal agency checks are indistinguishable from other checks drawn on Federal Reserve banks. (See 31 CFR Part 355.) Federal Reserve bank checks also are used by some banks as substitutes for cashier's or teller's checks. Similarly, savings and loan associations often use checks drawn on Federal Home Loan banks as teller's checks. The definition of check includes checks drawn on Federal Home Loan banks and Federal Reserve banks because in many cases they are the functional equivalent of Treasury checks or teller's checks.

5.  The third and fourth categories of instrument included in the definition of check refer to government checks. The Act refers to checks drawn on the U.S. Treasury, even though these instruments are not drawn on or payable through an office of a depository institution, and checks drawn by state and local governments. The Act also gives the Board authority to define functionally equivalent instruments as depository checks.1 Thus, the EFA Act is intended to apply to instruments other than those that meet the strict definition of check in section 602(7) of the EFA Act. Checks and warrants drawn by states and local governments often are used for the purposes of making unemployment compensation payments and other payments that are important to the recipients. Consequently, the Board has expressly defined check to include drafts drawn on the U.S. Treasury and drafts or warrants drawn by a state or a unit of general local government on itself.

6.  The fifth category of instrument included in the definition of check is U.S. Postal Service money orders. These instruments are defined as checks because they often are used as a substitute for checks by consumers, even though money orders are not negotiable under Postal Service regulations. The Board has not provided specific rules for other types of money orders; these instruments generally are drawn on or payable through or payable at banks and are treated as checks on that basis.

7.  The sixth and final category of instrument included in the definition of check is traveler's checks drawn on or payable through or at a bank. Traveler's check is defined in paragraph (hh) of this section.

8.  Finally, for the purposes of subparts C and D, and in connection therewith, subpart A, the definition of check includes nonnegotiable demand drafts because these instruments are often handled as cash items in the forward collection process.

9.  A substitute check as defined in § 229.2(aaa) is a check for purposes of Regulation CC and the U.C.C., even if that substitute check does not meet the requirements for legal equivalence set forth in § 229.51(a).

10.  The definition of check does not include an instrument payable in a foreign currency (i.e., other than in United States money as defined in 31 U.S.C. 5101) or a credit card draft (i.e., a sales draft used by a merchant or a draft generated by a bank as a result of a cash advance), or an ACH debit transfer. The definition of check includes a check that a bank may supply to a customer as a means of accessing a credit line without the use of a credit card.

L.  229.2(l) [Reserved]

M.  229.2(m) Check Processing Region

1.  The Act defines this term as "the geographic area served by a Federal Reserve bank check processing center or such larger area as the Board may prescribe by regulations." The Board has defined check processing region as the territory served by one of the Federal Reserve head offices, branches, or regional check processing centers. Appendix A includes a list of routing numbers arranged by Federal Reserve bank office. The definition of check processing region is key to determining whether a check is considered local or nonlocal.

N.  229.2(n) Consumer Account

1.  Consumer account is defined as an account used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. An account that does not meet the definition of consumer account is a nonconsumer account. A clearing account maintained at a bank directly by a brokerage firm is not a consumer account, even if the account is used to pay checks drawn by consumers using the funds in that account. The bank's relationship is with the brokerage firm, and the account is used by the brokerage firm to facilitate the clearing of its customers' checks. Because for purposes of Regulation CC the term account includes only deposit accounts, a consumer's revolving credit relationship or other line of credit with a bank is not a consumer account, even if the consumer draws on such credit lines by using a check. Both consumer and nonconsumer accounts are subject to the requirements of this regulation, including the requirement that funds be made available according to specific schedules and that the bank make specified disclosures of its availability policies. Section 229.18(b) (notices at branch locations) and § 229.18(e) (notice of changes in policy) apply only to consumer accounts. Section 229.13(g)(2) (one-time exception notice) and § 229.19(d) (use of calculated availability) apply only to nonconsumer accounts.

O.  229.2(o) Depositary Bank

1.  The regulation uses the term depositary bank rather than the term receiving depository institution. Receiving depository institution is a term unique to the Act, while depositary bank is the term used in article 4 of the U.C.C. and Regulation J.

2.  A depositary bank includes the bank in which the check is first deposited. If a foreign office of a U.S. or foreign bank sends checks to its U.S. correspondent bank for forward collection, the U.S. correspondent is the depositary bank because foreign offices of banks are not included in the definition of bank.

3.  If a customer deposits a check in its account at a bank, the customer's bank is the depositary bank with respect to the check. For example, if a person deposits a check into an account at a nonproprietary ATM, the bank holding the account into which the check is deposited is the depositary bank even though another bank may service the nonproprietary ATM and send the check for collection. (Under § 229.35 the depositary bank may agree with the bank servicing the nonproprietary ATM to have the servicing bank place its own indorsement on the check as the depositary bank. For the purposes of subpart C, the bank applying its indorsement as the depositary bank indorsement on the check is the depositary bank.)

4.  For purposes of subpart B, a bank may act as both the depositary bank and the paying bank with respect to a check, if the check is payable by the bank in which it was deposited, or if the check is payable by a nonbank payor and payable through or at the bank in which it was deposited. A bank also is considered a depositary bank with respect to checks it receives as payee. For example, a bank is a depositary bank with respect to checks it receives for loan repayment, even though these checks are not deposited in an account at the bank. Because these checks would not be "deposited to accounts," they would not be subject to the availability or disclosure requirements of Subpart B.

P.  229.2(p) Electronic Payment

1.  Electronic payment is defined to mean a wire transfer as defined in § 229.2(11) or an ACH credit transfer. The EFA Act requires that funds deposited by wire transfer be made available for withdrawal on the business day following deposit but expressly leaves the definition of the term wire transfer to the Board. Because ACH credit transfers frequently involve important consumer payments, such as wages, the regulation requires that funds deposited by ACH credit transfers be available for withdrawal on the business day following deposit.

2.  ACH debit transfers, even though they may be transmitted electronically, are not defined as electronic payments because the receiver of an ACH debit transfer has the right to return the transfer, which would reverse the credit given to the originator. Thus, ACH debit transfers are more like checks than wire transfers. Further, bank customers that receive funds by originating ACH debit transfers are primarily large corporations, which generally would be able to negotiate with their banks for prompt availability.

3.  A point-of-sale transaction would not be considered an electronic payment unless the transaction was effected by means of an ACH credit transfer or wire transfer.

Q.  229.2(q) Forward Collection

1.  Forward collection is defined to mean the process by which a bank sends a check to the paying bank for collection, including sending the check to an intermediary collecting bank for settlement, as distinguished from the process by which the check is returned unpaid.

R.  229.2(r) Local Check

1.  Local check is defined as a check payable by or at a local paying bank, or, in the case of nonbank payors, payable through a local paying bank. A check payable by a local bank but payable through a nonlocal bank is a local check. Conversely, a check payable through a local bank but payable by a nonlocal bank is a nonlocal check. Where two banks are named on a check and neither is designated as a payable-through bank, the check is considered payable by either bank and may be considered local or nonlocal depending on the bank to which it is sent for payment. Generally, the depositary bank may rely on the routing number to determine whether a check is local or nonlocal. Appendix A includes a list of routing numbers arranged by Federal Reserve bank office to assist persons in determining whether or not such a check is local. If, however, a check is payable by one bank but payable through another bank, the routing number appearing on the check will be that of the payable-through bank, not the paying bank. Many credit union share drafts and certain other checks payable by banks are payable through other banks. In such cases, the routing number cannot be relied on to determine whether the check is local or nonlocal. For payable-through checks that meet the labeling requirements of § 229.36(e), the depositary bank may rely on the four-digit routing symbol of the paying bank that is printed on the face of the check as required by that section, e.g., in the title plate, but not on the first four digits of the payable-through bank's routing number printed in magnetic ink in the MICR line or in fractional form, to determine whether the check is local or nonlocal.

S.  229.2(s) Local Paying Bank

1.  "Local paying bank" is defined as a paying bank located in the same check-processing region as the branch, contractual branch, or proprietary ATM of the depositary bank. For example, a check deposited at a contractual branch would be deemed local or nonlocal based on the location of the contractual branch with respect to the location of the paying bank.

2.  Examples.

a.  If a check that is payable by a bank that is located in the same check processing region as the depositary bank is payable through a bank located in another check processing region, the check is considered local or nonlocal depending on the location of the bank by which it is payable even if the check is sent to the nonlocal bank for collection.

b.  The location of the depositary bank is determined by the physical location of the branch or proprietary ATM at which a check is deposited, regardless of whether the deposit is made in person, by mail, or otherwise. For example, if a branch of the depositary bank located in one check-processing region sends a check that was deposited at that branch to the depositary bank's central facility in another check-processing region, and the central facility is in the same check-processing region as the paying bank, the check is still considered nonlocal. (See the commentary to the definition of "paying bank.")

c.  If a person deposits a check to an account by mailing or otherwise sending the check to a facility or office that is not a bank, the check is considered local or nonlocal depending on the location of the bank whose indorsement appears on the check as the depositary bank.

T.  229.2(t) Merger Transaction

1.  Merger transaction is a term used in subparts B and C in connection with transition rules for merged banks. It encompasses mergers, consolidations, and purchase/assumption transactions of the type that usually must be approved under the Bank Merger Act (12 U.S.C. 1828(c)) or similar statutes; it does not encompass acquisitions of a bank under the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1842) where an acquired bank maintains its separate corporate existence.

2.  Regulation CC adopts a one-year transition period for banks that are party to a merger transaction during which the merged banks will continue to be treated as separate entities. (See §§ 229.19(g) and 229.40.)

U.  229.2(u) Noncash Item

1.  The Act defines the term check to exclude noncash items, and defines noncash items to include checks to which another document is attached, checks accompanied by special instructions, or any similar item classified as a noncash item in the Board's regulation. To qualify as a noncash item, an item must be handled as such and may not be handled as a cash item by the depositary bank.

2.  The regulation's definition of noncash item also includes checks that consist of more than a single thickness of paper (except checks that qualify for handling by automated check processing equipment, e.g. those placed in carrier envelopes) and checks that have not been preprinted or post-encoded in magnetic ink with the paying bank's routing number, as well as checks with documents attached or accompanied by special instructions. (In the context of this definition, paying bank refers to the paying bank as defined for purposes of Subpart C.)

3.  A check that has been preprinted or post-encoded with a routing number that has been retired (e.g., because of a merger) for at least three years is a noncash item unless the current number is added for processing purposes by placing the check in an encoded carrier envelope or adding a strip to the check.

4.  Checks that are accompanied by special instructions are also noncash items. For example, a person concerned about whether a check will be paid may request the depositary bank to send a check for collection as a noncash item with an instruction to the paying bank to notify the depositary bank promptly when the check is paid or dishonored.

5.  For purposes of forward collection, a copy of a check is neither a check nor a noncash item, but may be treated as either. For purposes of return, a copy is generally a notice in lieu of return. (See §§ 229.30(f) and 229.31(f).)

V.  229.2(v) [Reserved]

W.  229.2(w) [Reserved]

X.  229.2(x) [Reserved]

Y.  229.2(y) [Reserved]

Z.  229.2(z) Paying Bank

1.  The regulation uses this term in lieu of the Act's "originating depository institution." For purposes of all subparts of Regulation CC, the term paying bank includes the bank by which a check is payable, the payable-at-bank to which a check is sent, or, if the check is payable by a nonbank payor, the bank through which the check is payable and to which it is sent for payment or collection. For purposes of subparts C and D, the term paying bank also includes the payable-through bank and the bank whose routing number appears on the check, regardless of whether the check is payable by a different bank, provided that the check is sent for payment or collection to the payable through bank or the bank whose routing number appears on the check.

2.  Under §§ 229.30 and 229.36(a), a bank designated as a payable-through bank or payable-at bank and to which the check is sent for payment or collection is responsible for the expedited return of checks and notice of nonpayment requirements of subpart C. The payable-through or payable-at bank may contract with the payor with respect to its liability in discharging these responsibilities. The Board believes that the EFA Act makes a clear connection between availability and the time it takes for checks to be cleared and returned. Allowing the payable-through bank additional time to forward checks to the payor and await return or pay instructions from the payor would delay the return of these checks, increasing the risks to depositary banks. Subpart C places on payable-through and payable-at banks the requirements of expeditious return based on the time the payable-through or payable-at bank received the check for forward collection.

3.  If a check is sent for forward collection based on the routing number, the bank associated with the routing number is a paying bank for the purposes of subparts C and D requirements, including notice of nonpayment, even if the check is not drawn by a customer of that bank or the check is fraudulent.

4.  The phrase "and to which [the check] is sent for payment or collection" includes sending not only the physical check, but information regarding the check under a truncation arrangement.

5.  Federal Reserve banks and Federal Home Loan banks are also paying banks under all subparts of the regulation with respect to checks payable by them, even though such banks are not defined as banks for purposes of subpart B.

6.  In accordance with the Check 21 Act, for purposes of subpart D and, in connection therewith, subpart A, paying bank includes the Treasury of the United States or the United States Postal Service with respect to a check payable by that entity and sent to that entity for payment or collection, even though the Treasury and Postal Service are not defined as banks for purposes of subparts B and C. Because the Federal Reserve Banks act as fiscal agents for the Treasury and the U.S. Postal Service and in that capacity are designated as presentment locations for Treasury checks and U.S. Postal Service money orders, a Treasury check or U.S. Postal Service money order presented to a Federal Reserve Bank is considered to be presented to the Treasury or U.S. Postal Service, respectively.

AA.  229.2(aa) Proprietary ATM

1.  All deposits at nonproprietary ATMs are treated as deposits of nonlocal checks, and deposits at proprietary ATMs generally are treated as deposits at banking offices. The Conference Report on the Act indicates that the special availability rules for deposits received through nonproprietary ATMs are provided because "nonproprietary ATMs today do not distinguish among check deposits or between check and cash deposits" (H.R. Rep. No. 261, 100th Cong., 1st Sess. at 179 (1987)). Thus, a deposit of any combination of cash and checks at a nonproprietary ATM may be treated as if it were a deposit of nonlocal checks, because the depositary bank does not know the makeup of the deposit and consequently is unable to place different holds on cash, local check, and nonlocal check deposits made at the ATM.

2.  A colloquy between Senators Proxmire and Dodd during the floor debate on the Competitive Equality Banking Act (133 Cong. Rec. S11289 (Aug. 4, 1987)) indicates that whether a bank operates the ATM is the primary criterion in determining whether the ATM is proprietary to that bank. Because a bank should be capable of ascertaining the composition of deposits made to an ATM operated by that bank, an exception to the availability schedules is not warranted for these deposits. If more than one bank meets the "owns or operates" criterion, the ATM is considered proprietary to the bank that operates it. For the purpose of this definition, the bank that operates an ATM is the bank that puts checks deposited into the ATM into the forward collection stream. An ATM owned by one or more banks, but operated by a nonbank servicer, is considered proprietary to the bank or banks that own it.

3.  The EFA Act also includes location as a factor in determining whether an ATM that is either owned or operated by a bank is proprietary to that bank. The definition of proprietary ATM includes an ATM located on the premises of the bank, either inside the branch or on its outside wall, regardless of whether the ATM is owned or operated by that bank. Because the EFA Act also defines a proprietary ATM as one that is "in close proximity" to the bank, the regulation defines an ATM located within 50 feet of a bank to be proprietary to that bank unless it is identified as being owned or operated by another entity. The Board believes that the statutory proximity test was designed to apply to situations where it would appear to the depositor that the ATM is run by his or her bank, because of the proximity of the ATM to the bank. The Board believes that an ATM located within 50 feet of a banking office would be presumed proprietary to that bank unless it is clearly identified as being owned or operated by another entity.

BB.  229.2(bb) Qualified Returned Check

1.  Subpart C requires the paying bank and returning bank(s) to return checks in an expeditious manner. The banks may meet this responsibility by returning a check to the depositary bank by the same general means used for forward collection of a check from the depositary bank to the paying bank. One way to speed the return process is to prepare the returned check for automated processing. Returned checks can be automated by either the paying bank or a returning bank by placing the returned check in a carrier envelope or by placing a strip on the bottom of the returned check and encoding the envelope or strip with the routing number of the depositary bank, the amount of the check, and a special return identifier. Qualified returned checks are identified by placing a "2" in the case of an original check (or a "5" in the case of a substitute check) in position 44 of the qualified return MICR line as a return identifier in accordance with American National Standard Specifications for Placement and Location of MICR Printing, X9.13 (hereinafter "ANS X9.13") for original checks or American National Standard Specifications for an Image Replacement Document--IRD, X9.100--140 (hereinafter "ANS X9.100--140") for substitute checks.

2.  Generally, under the standard of care imposed by § 229.38, a paying or returning bank would be liable for any damages incurred due to misencoding of the routing number, the amount of the check, or return identifier on a qualified returned check unless the error was due to problems with the depositary bank's indorsement. (See also discussion of § 229.38(c).) A qualified returned check that contains an encoding error would still be a qualified returned check for purposes of the regulation.

3.  A qualified returned check need not contain the elements of a check drawn on the depositary bank, such as the name of the depositary bank. Because indorsements and other information on carrier envelopes or strips will not appear on a returned check itself, banks will wish to retain carrier envelopes and/or microfilm or other records of carrier envelopes or strips with their check records.

CC.  229.2(cc) Returning Bank

1.  Returning bank is defined to mean any bank (excluding the paying bank and the depositary bank) handling a returned check. A returning bank may or may not be a bank that handled the returned check in the forward collection process. A returning bank includes a bank that agrees to handle a returned check for expeditious return to the depositary bank under § 229.31(a). A returning bank is also a collecting bank for the purpose of a collecting bank's duty to exercise ordinary care under U.C.C. 4--202(b) and is analogous to a collecting bank for purposes of final settlement. (See Commentary to § 229.35(b).)

DD.  229.2(dd) Routing Number

1.  Each bank is assigned a routing number by an agent of the American Bankers Association. The routing number takes two forms--a fractional form and a nine-digit form. A paying bank is identified by both the fractional form routing number (which normally appears in the upper right hand corner of the check) and the nine-digit form. The nine-digit routing number of the paying bank generally is printed in magnetic ink near the bottom of the check (the MICR strip; see ANSI X9.13--1983). Subpart C requires depositary banks and subsequent collecting banks to place their routing numbers in nine-digit form in their indorsements.

EE.  229.2(ee) [Reserved]

FF.  229.2(ff) [Reserved]

GG.  229.2(gg) Teller's Check

1.  Teller's check is defined in the EFA Act to mean a check issued by a depository institution and drawn on another depository institution. The definition in the regulation includes not only checks drawn by a bank on another bank, but also checks payable through or at a bank. This would include checks drawn on a nonbank, as long as the check is payable through or at a bank. The definition does not include checks that are drawn by a nonbank on a nonbank even if payable through or at a bank. The definition includes checks provided to a customer of the bank in connection with customer deposit account activity, such as account disbursements and interest payments. The definition also includes checks acquired from a bank by a noncustomer for remittance purposes, such as certain loan disbursement checks. The definition excludes checks used by the bank to pay employees or vendors and checks issued by the bank in connection with a payment service, such as a payroll or a bill-paying service. Teller's checks generally are sold by banks to substitute the bank's credit for the customer's credit and thereby enhance the collectibility of the checks. A check issued in connection with a payment service generally is provided as a convenience to the customer rather than as a guarantee of the check's collectibility. In addition, such checks are often more difficult to distinguish from other types of checks than are teller's checks as defined by this regulation.

HH.  229.2(hh) Traveler's Check

1.  The EFA Act and regulation require that traveler's checks be treated as cashier's, teller's, or certified checks when a new depositor opens an account. (See § 229.13(a); 12 U.S.C. 4003(a)(1)(C).) The EFA Act does not define traveler's check.

2.  One element of the definition states that a traveler's check is "drawn on or payable through or at a bank." Sometimes traveler's checks that are not issued by banks do not have any words on them identifying a bank as drawee or paying agent, but instead bear unique routing numbers with an 8000 prefix that identifies a bank as paying agent.

3.  Because a traveler's check is payable by, at, or through a bank, it is also a check for purposes of this regulation. When not subject to the next-day availability requirement for new accounts, a traveler's check should be treated as a local or nonlocal check depending on the location of the paying bank. The depositary bank may rely on the designation of the paying bank by the routing number to determine whether local or nonlocal treatment is required.

II.  229.2(ii) Uniform Commercial Code

1.  Uniform Commercial Code is defined as the version of the Code adopted by the individual states. For purposes of uniform citation, all citations to the U.C.C. in this part refer to the Official Text as approved by the American Law Institute and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

JJ.  229.2(jj) [Reserved]

KK.  229.2(kk) Unit of General Local Government

1.  Unit of general local government is defined to include a city, county, parish, town, township, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a state. The term does not include special purpose units, such as school districts, water districts, or Indian nations.

LL.  229.2(ll) Wire Transfer

1.  The EFA Act delegates to the Board the authority to define the term wire transfer. The regulation defines wire transfer as an unconditional order to a bank to pay a fixed or determinable amount of money to a beneficiary, upon receipt or on a day stated in the order, that is transmitted by electronic or other means over certain networks or on the books of banks and that is used primarily to transfer funds between commercial accounts. "Unconditional" means that no condition, such as presentation of documents, must be met before the bank receiving the order is to make payment. A wire transfer may be transmitted by electronic or other means. "Electronic means" include computer-to-computer links, on-line terminals, telegrams (including TWX, TELEX, or similar methods of communication), telephone calls, or other similar methods. Fedwire (the Federal Reserve's wire transfer network), CHIPS (Clearing House Interbank Payments System, operated by the New York Clearing House), and book transfers among banks or within one bank are covered by this definition. Credits for credit and debit card transactions are not wire transfers. The term wire transfer excludes electronic fund transfers as that term is defined by the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.

MM.  229.2(mm) [Reserved]

NN.  229.2(nn) Good Faith

1.  This definition of good faith derives from U.C.C. 3--103(a)(4).

OO.  229.2(oo) Interest Compensation

1.  This calculation of interest compensation derives from U.C.C. 4A--506(b). (See §§ 229.34(e) and 229.36(f).)

PP.  229.2(pp) Contractual Branch

1.  When one bank arranges for another bank to accept deposits on its behalf, the second bank is a contractual branch of the first bank. For further discussion of contractual branch deposits and related disclosures, see §§ 229.2(s) and 229.19(a) of the regulation and the commentary to §§ 229.2(s), 229.10(c), 229.14(a), 229.16(a), 229.18(b), and 229.19(a).

QQ. 229.2(qq) [Reserved]

RR. 229.2(rr) [Reserved]

SS. 229.2(ss) [Reserved]

TT. 229.2(tt) [Reserved]

UU. 220.2(uu) [Reserved]

VV. 229.2(vv) MICR Line

1.  Information in the MICR line of a check must be printed in accordance with ANS X9.13 for original checks and ANS X9.100--140 for substitute checks. These standards could vary the requirements for printing the MICR line, such as by indicating circumstances under which the use of magnetic ink is not required.

WW. 229.2(ww) Original Check

1.  The definition of original check distinguishes the first paper check signed or otherwise authorized by the drawer to effect a particular payment transaction from a substitute check or other paper or electronic representation that is derived from an original check or substitute check. There is only one original check for any particular payment transaction. However, multiple substitute checks could be created to represent that original check at various points in the check collection and return process.

XX. 229.2(xx) Paper or Electronic Representation of a Substitute Check

1.  Receipt of a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check does not trigger indemnity or expedited recredit rights, although the recipient nonetheless could have a warranty claim or a claim under other check law with respect to that document or the underlying payment transaction. A paper or electronic representation of a substitute check would include a representation of a substitute check that was drawn on an account, as well as a representation of a substitute traveler's check, credit card check, or other item that meets the substitute check definition. The following examples illustrate the scope of the definition.

Examples.

a.  A bank receives electronic presentment of a substitute check that has been converted to electronic form and charges the customer's account for that electronic item. The periodic account statement that the bank provides to the customer includes information about the electronically-presented substitute check in a line-item list describing all the checks the bank charged to the customer's account during the previous month. The electronic file that the bank received for presentment and charged to the customer's account would be an electronic representation of a substitute check, and the line-item appearing on the customer's account statement would be a paper representation of a substitute check.

b.  A paying bank receives and settles for a substitute check and then realizes that its settlement was for the wrong amount. The paying bank sends an adjustment request to the presenting bank to correct the error. The adjustment request is not a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check under the definition because it is not being handled for collection or return as a check. Rather, it is a separate request that is related to a check. As a result, no substitute check warranty, indemnity, or expedited recredit rights attach to the adjustment.

YY. 229.2(yy) [Reserved]

ZZ. 229.2(zz) Reconverting Bank

1.  A substitute check is "created" when and where a paper reproduction of an original check that meets the requirements of § 229.2(aaa) is physically printed. A bank is a reconverting bank if it creates a substitute check directly or if another person by agreement creates a substitute check on the bank's behalf. A bank also is a reconverting bank if it is the first bank that receives a substitute check created by a nonbank and transfers, presents, or returns that substitute check or, in lieu thereof, the first paper or electronic representation of such substitute check.

Examples.

a.  Bank A, by agreement, sends an electronic check file for collection to Bank B. Bank B chooses to use that file to print a substitute check that meets the requirements of § 229.2(aaa). Bank B is the reconverting bank as of the time it prints the substitute check.

b.  Company A, which is not a bank, by agreement receives check information electronically from Bank A. Bank A becomes the reconverting bank when Company A prints a substitute check on behalf of Bank A in accordance with that agreement.

c.  A depositary bank's customer, which is a nonbank business, receives a check for payment, truncates that original check, and creates a substitute check to deposit with its bank. The depositary bank receives that substitute check from its customer and is the first bank to handle the substitute check. The depositary bank becomes the reconverting bank as of the time that it transfers or presents the substitute check (or in lieu thereof the first paper or electronic representation of the substitute check) for forward collection.

d.  A bank is the payable-through bank for checks that are drawn on a nonbank payor, which is the bank's customer. When the customer decides not to pay a check that is payable through the bank, the customer creates a substitute check for purposes of return. The payable-through bank becomes the reconverting bank when it returns the substitute check (or in lieu thereof the first paper or electronic representation of the substitute check) to a returning bank or the depositary bank.

e.  A paying bank returns a substitute check to the depositary bank, which in turn gives that substitute check back to its nonbank customer. That customer then redeposits the substitute check for collection at a different bank. Because the substitute check was already transferred by a bank, the second depositary bank does not become a reconverting bank when it transfers or presents that substitute check for collection.

2.  In some cases there will be one or more banks between the truncating bank and the reconverting bank.

Example.

A depositary bank truncates the original check and sends an electronic representation of the original check for collection to an intermediary bank. The intermediary bank sends the electronic representation of the original check to the presenting bank, which creates a substitute check to present to the paying bank. The presenting bank is the reconverting bank.

3.  A check could move from electronic form to substitute check form several times during the collection and return process. It therefore is possible that there could be multiple substitute checks, and thus multiple reconverting banks, with respect to the same underlying payment.

AAA. 229.2(aaa) Substitute Check

1.  "A paper reproduction of an original check" could include a reproduction created directly from the original check or a reproduction of the original check that is created from some other source that contains an image of the original check, such as an electronic representation of an original check or substitute check, or a previous substitute check.

2.  Because a substitute check must be a piece of paper, an electronic file or electronic check image that has not yet been printed in accordance with the substitute check definition is not a substitute check.

3.  Because a substitute check must be a representation of a check, a paper reproduction of something that is not a check cannot be a substitute check. For example, a savings bond or a check drawn on a non-U.S. branch of a foreign bank cannot be reconverted to a substitute check.

4.  As described in § 229.51(b) and the commentary thereto, a reconverting bank is required to ensure that a substitute check contains all indorsements applied by previous parties that handled the check in any form. Therefore, the image of the original check that appears on the back of a substitute check would include indorsements that were physically applied to the original check before an image of the original check was captured. An indorsement that was applied physically to the original check after an image of the original check was captured would be conveyed as an electronic indorsement (see paragraph 3 of the commentary to § 229.35(a)). The back of the substitute check would contain a physical representation of any indorsements that were applied electronically to the check after an image of the check was captured but before creation of the substitute check.

Example.

Bank A, which is the depositary bank, captures an image of an original check, indorses it electronically and, by agreement, transmits to Bank B an electronic image of the check accompanied by the electronic indorsement. Bank B then creates a substitute check to send to Bank C. The back of the substitute check created by Bank B must contain a representation of the indorsement previously applied electronically by Bank A and Bank B's own indorsement. (For more information on indorsement requirements, see § 229.35, appendix D, and the commentary thereto.)

5.  Some substitute checks will not be created directly from the original check, but rather will be created from a previous substitute check. The back of a subsequent substitute check will contain an image of the full length of the back of the previous substitute check. NAS X9.100--140 requires preservation of the full length of the back of the previous substitute check in order to preserve previous indorsements and reconverting bank identifications. By contrast, the front of a subsequent substitute check will not contain an image of the entire previous substitute check. Rather, the image field of the subsequent substitute check will contain the image of the front of the original check that appeared on the previous substitute check at the time the previous substitute check was converted to electronic form. The portions of the front of the subsequent substitute check other than the image field will contain information applied by the subsequent reconverting bank, such as its reconverting bank identification, the MICR line, the legal equivalence legend, and optional security information.

Examples.

a.  The back of a subsequent substitute check would contain the following indorsements, all of which would be preserved through the image of the back of the previous substitute check: (1) The indorsements that were applied physically to the original check before an image of the original check was captured; (2) a physical representation of indorsements that were applied electronically to the original check after an image of the original check was captured but before creation of the first substitute check; and (3) indorsements that were applied physically to the previous substitute check. In addition, the reconverting bank for the subsequent substitute check must overlay onto the back of that substitute check a physical representation of any indorsements that were applied electronically after the previous substitute check was converted to electronic form but before creation of the subsequent substitute check.

b.  Because information could have been physically added to the image of the front of the original check that appeared on the previous substitute check, the original check image that appears on the front of a subsequent substitute check could contain information in addition to that which appeared on the original check at the time it was truncated.

6.  The MICR line applied to a substitute check must contain information in all fields of the MICR line that were encoded on the original check at any time before an image of the original check was captured. This includes all the MICR-line information that was preprinted on the original check, plus any additional information that was added to the MICR line before the image of the original check was captured (for example, the amount of the check). The information in each field of the substitute check's MICR line must be the same information as in the corresponding field of the MICR line of the original check, except as provided by ANS X9.100--140 (unless the Board by rule or order determines that a different standard applies). Industry standards may not, however, vary the requirement that a substitute check at the time of its creation must bear a full-field MICR line.

7.  ANS X9.100--140, provides that a substitute check must have a "4" in position 44 and that a qualified returned substitute check must have a "4" in position 44 of the forward-collection MICR line as well as a "5" in position 44 of the qualified return MICR line. The "4" and "5" indicate that the document is a substitute check so that the size of the check image remains constant throughout the collection and return process, regardless of the number of substitute checks created that represent the same original check (see also §§ 229.30(a)(2) and 229.31(a)(2) and the commentary thereto regarding requirements for qualified returned substitute checks). An original check generally has a blank position 44 for forward collection. Because a reconverting bank must encode position 44 of a substitute check's forward collection MICR line with a "4," the reconverting bank must vary any character that appeared in position 44 of the forward-collection MICR line of the original check. A bank that misencodes or fails to encode position 44 at the time it attempts to create a substitute check has failed to create a substitute check. A bank that receives a properly-encoded substitute check may further encode that item but does so subject to the encoding warranties in Regulation CC and the U.C.C.

8.  A substitute check's MICR line could contain information in addition to the information required at the time the substitute check is created. For example, if the amount field of the original check was not encoded and the substitute check therefore did not, when created, have an encoded amount field, the MICR line of the substitute check later could be amount-encoded.

9.  A bank may receive a substitute check that contains a MICR-line variation but nonetheless meets the MICR-line replication requirements of § 229.2(aaa)(2) because that variation is permitted by ANS X9.100--140. If such a substitute check contains a MICR-line error, a bank that receives it may, but is not required to repair that error. Such a repair must be made in accordance with ANS X9.100--140 for repairing a MICR line, which generally allows a bank to correct an error by applying a strip that may or may not contain information in all fields encoded on the check's MICR line. A bank's repair of a MICR-line error on a substitute check is subject to the encoding warranties in Regulation CC and the U.C.C.

10.  A substitute check must confirm to all the generally applicable industry standards for substitute checks set forth in ANS X9.100--140, which incorporates other industry standards by reference. Thus, multiple substitute check images contained on the same page of an account statement are not substitute checks.

BBB. 229.2(bbb) Sufficient Copy and Copy

1.  A copy must be a paper reproduction of a check. An electronic image therefore is not a copy or a sufficient copy. However, if a customer has agreed to receive such information electronically, a bank that is required to provide an original check or sufficient copy may satisfy that requirement by providing an electronic image in accordance with § 229.58 and the commentary thereto.

2.  A bank under § 229.53(b)(3) may limit its liability for an indemnity claim and under §§ 229.54(e)(2) and 229.55(c)(2) may respond to an expedited recredit claim by providing the claimant with a copy of a check that accurately represents all of the information on the front and back of the original check as of the time the original check was truncated or that otherwise is sufficient to determine the validity of the claim against the bank.

Examples.

a.  A copy of an original check that accurately represents all the information on the front and back of the original check as of the time of truncation would constitute a sufficient copy if that copy resolved the claim. For example, if resolution of the claim required accurate payment and indorsement information, an accurate copy of the front and back of a legible original check (including but not limited to a substitute check) would be a sufficient copy.

b.  A copy of the original check that does not accurately represent all the information on both the front and back of the original check also could be a sufficient copy if such copy contained all the information necessary to determine the validity of the relevant claim. For instance, if a consumer received a substitute check that contained a blurry image of a legible original check, the consumer might seek an expedited recredit because his or her account was charged for $1,000, but he or she believed that the check was written for only $100. If the amount that appeared on the front of the original check was legible, an accurate copy of only the front of the original check that showed the amount of the check would be sufficient to determine whether or not the consumer's claim regarding the amount of the check was valid.

CCC. 229.2(ccc) Transfer and Consideration

1.  Under §§ 229.52 and 229.53, a bank is responsible for the warranties and indemnity when it transfers, presents, or returns a substitute check (or a paper or electronic representation thereof) for consideration. Drawers and other nonbank persons that receive checks from a bank are not transferees that receive consideration as those terms are defined in the U.C.C. However, the Check 21 Act clearly contemplates that such nonbank persons that receive substitute checks (or representations thereof) from a bank will receive the warranties and indemnity from all previous banks that handled the check. To ensure that these parties are covered by the substitute check warranties and indemnity in the manner contemplated by the Check 21 Act, § 229.2(ccc) incorporates the U.C.C. definitions of the term transfer and consideration by reference and expands those definitions to cover a broader range of situations. Delivering a check to a nonbank that is acting on behalf of a bank (such as a third-party check processor or presentment point) is a transfer of the check to that bank.

Examples.

a.  A paying bank pays a substitute check and then provides that paid substitute check (or a representation thereof) to a drawer with a periodic statement. Under the expanded definitions, the paying bank thereby transfers the substitute check (or representation thereof) to the drawer for consideration and makes the substitute check warranties described in § 229.52. A drawer that suffers a loss due to receipt of a substitute check may have warranty, indemnity, and, if the drawer is a consumer, expedited recredit rights under the Check 21 Act and subpart D. A drawer that suffers a loss due to receipt of a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check would receive the substitute check warranties but would not have indemnity or expedited recredit rights.

b.  The expanded definitions also operate such that a paying bank that pays an original check (or a representation thereof) and then creates a substitute check to provide to the drawer with a periodic statement transfers the substitute check for consideration and thereby provides the warranties and indemnity.

c.  The expanded definitions ensure that a bank that receives a returned check in any form and then provides a substitute check to the depositor gives the substitute check warranties and indemnity to the depositor.

d.  The expanded definitions apply to substitute checks representing original checks that are not drawn on deposit accounts, such as checks used to access a credit card or a home equity line of credit.

DDD. 229.2(ddd) Truncate

1.  Truncate means to remove the original check from the forward collection or return process and to send in lieu of the original check either a substitute check or, by agreement, information relating to the original check. Truncation does not include removal of a substitute check from the check collection or return process.

EEE. 229.2(eee) Truncating Bank

1.  A bank is a truncating bank if it truncates an original check or if it is the first bank to transfer, present, or return another form of an original check that was truncated by a person that is not a bank.

Example.

a.  A bank's customer that is a nonbank business receives a check for payment and deposits either a substitute check or an electronic representation of the original check with its depositary bank instead of the original check. That depositary bank is the truncating bank when it transfers, presents, or returns the substitute check or electronic representation in lieu of the original check. That bank also would be the reconverting bank if it were the first bank to transfer, present, or return a substitute check that it received from (or created from the information given by) its nonbank customer (see § 229.2(yy) and the commentary thereto).

2.  A truncating bank does not make the subpart D warranties and indemnity unless it also is the reconverting bank. Therefore, a bank that truncates the original check and sends an electronic file to a collecting bank does not provide subpart D protections to the recipient of that electronic item. However, a recipient of an electronic item may protect itself against losses associated with that item by agreement with the truncating bank.

FFF. 229.2(fff) Remotely Created Check

1.  A check authorized by a consumer over the telephone that is not created by the paying bank and bears a legend on the signature line, such as "Authorized by Drawer," is an example of a remotely created check. A check that bears the signature applied, or purported to be applied, by the person on whose account the check is drawn is not a remotely created check. A typical forged check, such as a stolen personal check fraudulently signed by a person other than the drawer, is not covered by the definition of a remotely created check.

2.  The term signature as used in this definition has the meaning set forth at U.C.C. 3--401. The term "applied by" refers to the physical act of placing the signature on the check.

3.  The definition of a "remotely created check" differs from the definition of a "remotely created consumer item" under the U.C.C. A "remotely created check" may be drawn on an account held by a consumer, corporation, unincorporated company, partnership, government unit or instrumentality, trust, or any other entity or organization. A "remotely created consumer item" under the U.C.C., however, must be drawn on a consumer account.

4.  Under Regulation CC (12 CFR part 229), the term "check" includes a negotiable demand draft drawn on or payable through or at an office of a bank. In the case of a "payable through" or "payable at" check, the signature of the person on whose account the check is drawn would include the signature of the payor institution or the signatures of the customers who are authorized to draw checks on that account, depending on the arrangements between the "payable through" or "payable at" bank, the payor institution, and the customers.

5.  The definition of a remotely created check includes a remotely created check that has been reconverted to a substitute check.

III. Section 229.3 Administrative Enforcement [Reserved]

IV. Section 229.10 Next-Day Availability

A.  Business Days and Banking Days

1.  This section, as well as other provisions of this subpart governing the availability of funds, provides that funds must be made available for withdrawal not later than a specified number of business days following the banking day on which the funds are deposited. Thus, a deposit is considered made only on a banking day, i.e., a day that the bank is open to the public for carrying on substantially all of its banking functions. For example, if a deposit is made at an ATM on a Saturday, Sunday, or other day on which the bank is closed to the public, the deposit is considered received on that bank's next banking day.

2.  Nevertheless, business days are used to determine the number of days following the banking day of deposit that funds must be available for withdrawal. For example, if a deposit of a local check were made on a Monday, the availability schedule requires that funds be available for withdrawal on the second business day after deposit. Therefore, funds must be made available on Wednesday regardless of whether the bank was closed on Tuesday for other than a standard legal holiday as specified in the definition of business day.

B.  229.10(a) Cash Deposits

1.  This paragraph implements the Act's requirement for next-day availability for cash deposits to accounts at a depositary bank "staffed by individuals employed by such institution."2 Under this paragraph, cash deposited in an account at a staffed teller station on a Monday must become available for withdrawal by the start of business on Tuesday. It must become available for withdrawal by the start of business on Wednesday if it is deposited by mail, at a proprietary ATM, or by other means other than at a staffed teller station.

C.  229.10(b) Electronic Payments

1.  The Act provides next-day availability for funds received for deposit by wire transfer. The regulation uses the term electronic payment, rather than wire transfer, to include both wire transfers and ACH credit transfers under the next-day availability requirement. (See discussion of definitions of automated clearinghouse, electronic payment, and wire transfer in § 229.2.)

2.  The EFA Act requires that funds received by wire transfer be available for withdrawal not later than the business day following the day a wire transfer is received. This paragraph clarifies what constitutes receipt of an electronic payment. For the purposes of this paragraph, a bank receives an electronic payment when the bank receives both payment in finally collected funds and the payment instructions indicating the customer accounts to be credited and the amount to be credited to each account. For example, in the case of Fedwire, the bank receives finally collected funds at the time the payment is made. (See 12 CFR 210.31.) Finally collected funds generally are received for an ACH credit transfer when they are posted to the receiving bank's account on the settlement day. In certain cases, the bank receiving ACH credit payments will not receive the specific payment instructions indicating which accounts to credit until after settlement day. In these cases, the payments are not considered received until the information on the account and amount to be credited is received.

3.  This paragraph also establishes the extent to which an electronic payment is considered made. Thus, if a participant on a private network fails to settle and the receiving bank receives finally settled funds representing only a partial amount of the payment, it must make only the amount that it actually received available for withdrawal.

4.  The availability requirements of this regulation do not preempt or invalidate other rules, regulations, or agreements which require funds to be made available on a more prompt basis. For example, the next-day availability requirement for ACH credits in this section does not preempt ACH association rules and Treasury regulations (31 CFR part 210), which provide that the proceeds of these credit payments be available to the recipient for withdrawal on the day the bank receives the funds.

D.  229.10(c) Certain Check Deposits

1.  The EFA Act generally requires that funds be made available on the business day following the banking day of deposit for Treasury checks, state and local government checks, cashier's checks, certified checks, teller's checks, and "on us" checks, under specified conditions. (Treasury checks are checks drawn on the Treasury of the United States and have a routing number beginning with the digits "0000.") This section also requires next-day availability for additional types of checks not addressed in the Act. Checks drawn on a Federal Reserve bank or a Federal Home Loan bank and U.S. Postal Service money orders also must be made available on the first business day following the day of deposit under specified conditions. For the purposes of this section, all checks drawn on a Federal Reserve bank or a Federal Home Loan bank that contain in the MICR line a routing number that is listed in appendix A are subject to the next-day availability requirement if they are deposited in an account held by a payee of the check and in person to an employee of the depositary bank, regardless of the purposes for which the checks were issued. For all new accounts, even if the new account exception is not invoked, traveler's checks must be included in the $5,000 aggregation of checks deposited on any one banking day that are subject to the next-day availability requirement. (See § 229.13(a).)

2.  Deposit in Account of Payee. One statutory condition to receipt of next-day availability of Treasury checks, state and local government checks, cashier's checks, certified checks, and teller's checks is that the check must be "endorsed only by the person to whom it was issued." The EFA Act could be interpreted to include a check that has been indorsed in blank and deposited into an account of a third party that is not named as payee. The Board believes that such a check presents greater risks than a check deposited by the payee and that Congress did not intend to require next-day availability for such checks. The regulation, therefore, provides that funds must be available on the business day following deposit only if the check is deposited in an account held by a payee of the check. For the purposes of this section, payee does not include transferees other than named payees. The regulation also applies this condition to Postal Service money orders and checks drawn on Federal Reserve banks and Federal Home Loan banks.

3.  Deposits Made to an Employee of the Depositary Bank.

a.  In most cases, next-day availability of the proceeds of checks subject to this section is conditioned on the deposit of these checks in person to an employee of the depositary bank. If the deposit is not made to an employee of the depositary bank on the premises of such bank, the proceeds of the deposit must be made available for withdrawal by the start of business on the second business day after deposit, under paragraph (c)(2) of this section. For example, second-day availability rather than next-day availability would be allowed for deposits of checks subject to this section made at a proprietary ATM, night depository, through the mail or a lock box, or at a teller station staffed by a person who is not an employee of the depositary bank. Second-day availability also may be allowed for deposits picked up by an employee of the depositary bank at the customer's premises; such deposits would be considered made upon receipt at the branch or other location of the depositary bank. Employees of a contractual branch would not be considered employees of the depositary bank for the purposes of this regulation, and deposits at contractual branches would be treated the same as deposits to a proprietary ATM for the purposes of this regulation. (See also, Commentary to § 229.19(a).)

b.  In the case of Treasury checks, the EFA Act and regulation do not condition the receipt of next-day availability to deposits at staffed teller stations. Therefore, Treasury checks deposited at a proprietary ATM must be accorded next-day availability, if the check is deposited to an account of a payee of the check.

4.  "On Us" Checks. The EFA Act and regulation require next-day availability for "on us" checks, i.e., checks deposited in a branch of the depositary bank and drawn on the same or another branch of the same bank, if both branches are located in the same state or check processing region. Thus, checks deposited in one branch of a bank and drawn on another branch of the same bank must receive next-day availability even if the branch on which the checks are drawn is located in another check processing region but in the same state as the branch in which the check is deposited. For the purposes of this requirement, deposits at facilities that are not located on the premises of a brick-and-mortar branch of the bank, such as off-premise ATMs and remote depositories, are not considered deposits made at branches of the depositary bank.

5.  First $100.

a.  The EFA Act and regulation also require that up to $100 of the aggregate deposit by check or checks not subject to next-day availability on any one banking day be made available on the next business day. For example, if $70 were deposited in an account by check(s) on a Monday, the entire $70 must be available for withdrawal at the start of business on Tuesday. If $200 were deposited by check(s) on a Monday, this section requires that $100 of the funds be available for withdrawal at the start of business on Tuesday. The portion of the customer's deposit to which the $100 must be applied is at the discretion of the depositary bank, as long as it is not applied to any checks subject to next-day availability. The $100 next-day availability rule does not apply to deposits at nonproprietary ATMs.

b.  The $100 that must be made available under this rule is in addition to the amount that must be made available for withdrawal on the business day after deposit under other provisions of this section. For example, if a customer deposits a $1,000 Treasury check, and a $1,000 local check in its account on Monday, $1,100 must be made available for withdrawal on Tuesday--the proceeds of the $1,000 Treasury check, as well as the first $100 of the local check.

c.  A depositary bank may aggregate all local and nonlocal check deposits made by the customer on a given banking day for the purposes of the $100 next-day availability rule. Thus, if a customer has two accounts at the depositary bank, and on a particular banking day makes deposits to each account, $100 of the total deposited to the two accounts must be made available on the business day after deposit. Banks may aggregate deposits to individual and joint accounts for the purposes of this provision.

d.  If the customer deposits a $500 local check, and gets $100 cash back at the time of deposit, the bank need not make an additional $100 available for withdrawal on the following day. Similarly, if the customer depositing the local check has a negative book balance, or negative available balance in its account at the time of deposit, the $100 that must be available on the next business day may be made available by applying the $100 to the negative balance, rather than making the $100 available for withdrawal by cash or check on the following day.

6.  Special Deposit Slips.

a.  Under the EFA Act, a depositary bank may require the use of a special deposit slip as a condition to providing next-day availability for certain types of checks. This condition was included in the Act because many banks determine the availability of their customers' check deposits in an automated manner by reading the MICR-encoded routing number on the deposited checks. Using these procedures, a bank can determine whether a check is a local or nonlocal check, a check drawn on the Treasury, a Federal Reserve bank, a Federal Home Loan bank, or a branch of the depositary bank, or a U.S. Postal Service money order. Appendix A includes the routing numbers of certain categories of checks that are subject to next-day availability. The bank cannot require a special deposit slip for these checks.

b.  A bank cannot distinguish whether the check is a state or local government check, cashier's check, certified check, or teller's check by reading the MICR-encoded routing number, because these checks bear the same routing number as other checks drawn on the same bank that are not accorded next-day availability. Therefore, a bank may require a special deposit slip for these checks.

c.  The regulation specifies that if a bank decides to require the use of a special deposit slip (or a special deposit envelope in the case of a deposit at an ATM or other unstaffed facility) as a condition to granting next-day availability under paragraphs (c)(1)(iv) or (c)(1)(v) of this section or second-day availability under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, and if the deposit slip that must be used is different from the bank's regular deposit slips, the bank must either provide the special slips to its customers or inform its customers how such slips may be obtained and make the slips reasonably available to the customers.

d.  A bank may meet this requirement by providing customers with an order form for the special deposit slips and allowing sufficient time for the customer to order and receive the slips before this condition is imposed. If a bank provides deposit slips in its branches for use by its customers, it also must provide the special deposit slips in the branches. If special deposit envelopes are required for deposits at an ATM, the bank must provide such envelopes at the ATM.

e.  Generally, a teller is not required to advise depositors of the availability of special deposit slips merely because checks requiring special deposit slips for next-day availability are deposited without such slips. If a bank provides the special deposit slips only upon the request of a depositor, however, the teller must advise the depositor of the availability of the special deposit slips, or the bank must post a notice advising customers that the slips are available upon request. Such notice need not be posted at each teller window, but the notice must be posted in a place where consumers seeking to make deposits are likely to see it before making their deposits. For example, the notice might be posted at the point where the line forms for teller service in the lobby. The notice is not required at any drive-through teller windows nor is it required at night depository locations, or at locations where consumer deposits are not accepted. If a bank prepares a deposit for a depositor, it must use a special deposit slip where appropriate. A bank may require the customer to segregate the checks subject to next-day availability for which special deposit slips could be required, and to indicate on a regular deposit slip that such checks are being deposited, if the bank so instructs its customers in its initial disclosure.

V. Section 229.11 [Reserved]

VI. Section 229.12 Availability Schedule

A.  229.12(a) Effective Date

1.  The availability schedule set forth in this section supersedes the temporary schedule that was effective September 1, 1988, through August 31, 1990.

B.  229.12(b) Local Checks and Certain Other Checks

1.  Local checks must be made available for withdrawal not later than the second business day following the banking day on which the checks were deposited.

2.  In addition, the proceeds of Treasury checks and U.S. Postal Service money orders not subject to next-day (or second-day) availability under § 229.10(c), checks drawn on Federal Reserve banks and Federal Home Loan banks, checks drawn by a state or unit of general local government, cashier's checks, certified checks, and teller's checks not subject to next-day (or second-day) availability under § 229.10(c) and payable in the same check processing region as the depositary bank, must be made available for withdrawal by the second business day following deposit.

3.  Exceptions are made for withdrawals by cash or similar means and for deposits in banks located outside the 48 contiguous states. Thus, the proceeds of a local check deposited on a Monday generally must be made available for withdrawal on Wednesday.

C.  229.12(c) Nonlocal Checks

1.  Nonlocal checks must be made available for withdrawal not later than the fifth business day following deposit, i.e., proceeds of a nonlocal check deposited on a Monday must be made available for withdrawal on the following Monday. In addition, a check described in § 229.10(c) that does not meet the conditions for next-day availability (or second-day availability) is treated as a nonlocal check, if the check is drawn on or payable through or at a nonlocal paying bank. Adjustments are made to the schedule for withdrawals by cash or similar means and deposits in banks located outside the 48 contiguous states.

2.  Reduction in Schedules.

a.  Section 603(d)(1) of the EFA Act (12 U.S.C. 4002(d)(1)) requires the Board to reduce the statutory schedules for any category of checks where most of those checks would be returned in a shorter period of time than provided in the schedules. The conferees indicated that "if the new system makes it possible for two-thirds of the items of a category of checks to meet this test in a shorter period of time, then the Federal Reserve must shorten the schedules accordingly." H.R. Rep. No. 261, 100th Cong., 1st Sess. at 179 (1987).

b.  Reduced schedules are provided for certain nonlocal checks where significant improvements can be made to the Act's schedules due to transportation arrangements or proximity between the check processing regions of the depositary bank and the paying bank, allowing for faster collection and return. Appendix B sets forth the specific reduction of schedules applicable to banks located in certain check processing regions.

c.  A reduction in schedules may apply even in those cases where the determination that the check is nonlocal cannot be made based on the routing number on the check. For example, a nonlocal credit union payable-through share draft may be subject to a reduction in schedules if the routing number of the payable-through bank that appears on the draft is included in Appendix B, even though the determination that the payable-through share draft is nonlocal is based on the location of the credit union and not the routing number on the draft.

D.  229.12(d) Time Period Adjustment for Withdrawal by Cash or Similar Means

1.  The EFA Act provides an adjustment to the availability rules for cash withdrawals. Funds from local and nonlocal checks need not be available for cash withdrawal until 5:00 p.m. on the day specified in the schedule. At 5:00 p.m., $400 of the deposit must be made available for cash withdrawal. This $400 is in addition to the first $100 of a day's deposit, which must be made available for withdrawal at the start of business on the first business day following the banking day of deposit. If the proceeds of local and nonlocal checks become available for withdrawal on the same business day, the $400 withdrawal limitation applies to the aggregate amount of the funds that became available for withdrawal on that day. The remainder of the funds must be available for cash withdrawal at the start of business on the business day following the business day specified in the schedule.

2.  The EFA Act recognizes that the $400 that must be provided on the day specified in the schedule may exceed a bank's daily ATM cash withdrawal limit, and explicitly provides that the EFA Act does not supersede the bank's policy in this regard. The Board believes that the rationale for accommodating a bank's ATM withdrawal limit also applies to other cash withdrawal limits established by that bank. Section 229.19(c)(4) of the regulation addresses the relation between a bank's cash withdrawal limit (for over-the-counter cash withdrawals as well as ATM cash withdrawals) and the requirements of this subpart.

3.  The Board believes that the Congress included this special cash withdrawal rule to provide a depositary bank with additional time to learn of the nonpayment of a check before it must make funds available to its customer. If a customer deposits a local check on a Monday, and that check is returned by the paying bank, the depositary bank may not receive the returned check until Thursday, the day after funds for a local check ordinarily must be made available for withdrawal. The intent of the special cash withdrawal rule is to minimize this risk to the depositary bank. For this rule to minimize the depositary bank's risk, it must apply not only to cash withdrawals, but also to withdrawals by other means that result in an irrevocable debit to the customer's account or commitment to pay by the bank on the customer's behalf during the day. Thus, the cash withdrawal rule also includes withdrawals by electronic payment, issuance of a cashier's or teller's check, certification of a check, or other irrevocable commitment to pay, such as authorization of an on-line point-of-sale debit. The rule also would apply to checks presented over the counter for payment on the day of presentment by the depositor or another person. Such checks could not be dishonored for insufficient funds if an amount sufficient to cover the check had became available for cash withdrawal under this rule; however, payment of such checks would be subject to the bank's cut-off hour established under U.C.C. 4--108. The cash withdrawal rule does not apply to checks and other provisional debits presented to the bank for payment that the bank has the right to return.

E.  229.12(e) Extension of Schedule for Certain Deposits in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

1.  The EFA Act and regulation provide an extension of the availability schedules for check deposits at a branch of a bank if the branch is located in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. The schedules for local checks, nonlocal checks (including nonlocal checks subject to the reduced schedules of appendix B), and deposits at nonproprietary ATMs are extended by one business day for checks deposited to accounts in banks located in these jurisdictions that are drawn on or payable at or through a paying bank not located in the same jurisdiction as the depositary bank. For example, a check deposited in a bank in Hawaii and drawn on a San Francisco paying bank must be made available for withdrawal not later than the third business day following deposit. This extension does not apply to deposits that must be made available for withdrawal on the next business day.

2.  The Congress did not provide this extension of the schedules to checks drawn on a paying bank located in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands and deposited in an account at a depositary bank in the 48 contiguous states. Therefore, a check deposited in a San Francisco bank drawn on a Hawaii paying bank must be made available for withdrawal not later than the second rather than the third business day following deposit.

F.  229.12(f) Deposits at Nonproprietary ATMs

1.  The EFA Act and regulation provide a special rule for deposits made at nonproprietary ATMs. This paragraph does not apply to deposits made at proprietary ATMs. All deposits at a nonproprietary ATM must be made available for withdrawal by the fifth business day following the banking day of deposit. For example, a deposit made at a nonproprietary ATM on a Monday, including any deposit by cash or checks that would otherwise be subject to next-day (or second-day) availability, must be made available for withdrawal not later than Monday of the following week. The provisions of § 229.10(c)(1)(vii) requiring a depositary bank to make up to $100 of an aggregate daily deposit available for withdrawal on the first business day after the banking day of deposit do not apply to deposits at a nonproprietary ATM.

VII. Section 229.13 Exceptions

A.  Introduction

1.  While certain safeguard exceptions (such as those for new accounts and checks the bank has reasonable cause to believe are uncollectible) are established in the EFA Act, the Congress gave the Board the discretion to determine whether certain other exceptions should be included in its regulations. Specifically, the Act gives the Board the authority to establish exceptions to the schedules for large or redeposited checks and for accounts that have been repeatedly overdrawn. These exceptions apply to local and non-local checks as well as to checks that must otherwise be accorded next-day (or second-day) availability under § 229.10(c).

2.  Many checks will not be returned to the depositary bank by the time funds must be made available for withdrawal under the next-day (or second-day), local, and nonlocal schedules. In order to reduce risk to depositary banks, the Board has exercised its statutory authority to adopt these exceptions to the schedules in the regulation to allow the depositary bank to extend the time within which it is required to make funds available.

3.  The EFA Act also gives the Board the authority to suspend the schedules for any classification of checks, if the schedules result in an unacceptable level of fraud losses. The Board will adopt regulations or issue orders to implement this statutory authority if and when circumstances requiring its implementation arise.

B.  229.13(a) New Accounts

1.  Definition of New Account.

a.  The EFA Act provides an exception to the availability schedule for new accounts. An account is defined as a new account during the first 30 calendar days after the account is opened. An account is opened when the first deposit is made to the account. An account is not considered a new account, however, if each customer on the account has a transaction account relationship with the depositary bank, including a dormant account, that is at least 30 calendar days old or if each customer has had an established transaction account with the depositary bank within the 30 calendar days prior to opening the second account.

b.  The following are examples of what constitutes, and does not constitute, a new account:

i.  If the customer has an established account with a bank and opens a second account with the bank, the second account is not subject to the new account exception.

ii.  If a customer's account were closed and another account opened as a successor to the original account (due, for example, to the theft of checks or a debit card used to access the original account), the successor account is not subject to the new account exception, assuming the previous account relationship is at least 30 days old. Similarly, if a customer closes an established account and opens a separate account within 30 days, the new account is not subject to the new account exception.

iii.  If a customer has a savings deposit or other deposit that is not an account (as that term is defined in § 229.2(a)) at the bank, and opens an account, the account is subject to the new account exception.

iv.  If a person that is authorized to sign on a corporate account (but has no other relationship with the bank) opens a personal account, the personal account is subject to the new account exception.

v.  If a customer has an established joint account at a bank, and subsequently opens an individual account with that bank, the individual account is not subject to the new account exception.

vi.  If two customers that each have an established individual account with the bank open a joint account, the joint account is not subject to the new account exception. If one of the customers on the account has no current or recent established account relationship with the bank, however, the joint account is subject to the new account exception, even if the other individual on the account has an established account relationship with the bank.

2.  Rules Applicable to New Accounts.

a.  During the new account exception period, the schedules for local and nonlocal checks do not apply, and, unlike the other exceptions provided in this section, the regulation provides no maximum time frames within which the proceeds of these deposits must be made available for withdrawal. Maximum times within which funds must be available for withdrawal during the new account period are provided, however, for certain other deposits. Deposits received by cash and electronic payments must be made available for withdrawal in accordance with § 229.10.

b.  Special rules also apply to deposits of Treasury checks, U.S. Postal Service money orders, checks drawn on Federal Reserve banks and Federal Home Loan banks, state and local government checks, cashier's checks, certified checks, teller's checks, and, for the purposes of the new account exception only, traveler's checks. The first $5,000 of funds deposited to a new account on any one banking day by these check deposits must be made available for withdrawal in accordance with § 229.10(c). Thus, the first $5,000 of the proceeds of these check deposits must be made available on the first business day following deposit, if the deposit is made in person to an employee of the depositary bank and the other conditions of next-day availability are met. Funds must be made available on the second business day after deposit for deposits that are not made over the counter, in accordance with § 229.10(c)(2). (Proceeds of Treasury check deposits must be made available on the first business day after deposit, even if the check is not deposited in person to an employee of the depositary bank.) Funds in excess of the first $5,000 deposited by these types of checks on a banking day must be available for withdrawal not later than the ninth business day following the banking day of deposit. The requirements of § 229.10(c)(1)(vi) and (vii) that "on us" checks and the first $100 of a day's deposit be made available for withdrawal on the next business day do not apply during the new account period.

3.  Representation by Customer. The depositary bank may rely on the representation of the customer that the customer has no established account relationship with the bank, and has not had any such account relationship within the past 30 days, to determine whether an account is subject to the new account exception.

C.  229.13(b) Large Deposits

1.  Under the large deposit exception, a depositary bank may extend the hold placed on check deposits to the extent that the amount of the aggregate deposit on any banking day exceeds $5,000. This exception applies to local and nonlocal checks, as well as to checks that otherwise would be made available on the next (or second) business day after the day of deposit under § 229.10(c). Although the first $5,000 of a day's deposit is subject to the availability otherwise provided for checks, the amount in excess of $5,000 may be held for an additional period of time as provided in § 229.13(h). When the large deposit exception is applied to deposits composed of a mix of checks that would otherwise be subject to differing availability schedules, the depositary bank has the discretion to choose the portion of the deposit to which it applies the exception. Deposits by cash or electronic payment are not subject to this exception for large deposits.

2.  The following example illustrates the operation of the large deposit exception. If a customer deposits $2,000 in cash and a $9,000 local check on a Monday, $2,100 (the proceeds of the cash deposit and $100 from the local check deposit) must be made available for withdrawal on Tuesday. An additional $4,900 of the proceeds of the local check must be available for withdrawal on Wednesday in accordance with the local schedule, and the remaining $4,000 may be held for an additional period of time under the large deposit exception.

3.  Where a customer has multiple accounts with a depositary bank, the bank may apply the large deposit exception to the aggregate deposits to all of the customer's accounts, even if the customer is not the sole holder of the accounts and not all of the holders of the customer's accounts are the same. Thus, a depositary bank may aggregate the deposits made to two individual accounts in the same name, to an individual and a joint account with one common name, or to two joint accounts with at least one common name for the purpose of applying the large deposit exception. Aggregation of deposits to multiple accounts is permitted because the Board believes that the risk to the depositary bank associated with large deposits is similar regardless of how the deposits are allocated among the customer's accounts.

D.  229.13(c) Redeposited Checks

1.  The EFA Act gives the Board the authority to promulgate an exception to the schedule for checks that have been returned unpaid and redeposited. Section 229.13(c) provides such an exception for checks that have been returned unpaid and redeposited by the customer or the depositary bank. This exception applies to local and nonlocal checks, as well as to checks that would otherwise be made available on the next (or second) business day after the day of deposit under § 229.10(c).

2.  This exception addresses the increased risk to the depositary bank that checks that have been returned once will be uncollectible when they are presented to the paying bank a second time. The Board, however, does not believe that this increased risk is present for checks that have been returned due to a missing indorsement. Thus, the exception does not apply to checks returned unpaid due to missing indorsements and redeposited after the missing indorsement has been obtained, if the reason for return indicated on the check (see § 229.30(d)) states that it was returned due to a missing indorsement. For the same reason, this exception does not apply to a check returned because it was postdated (future dated), if the reason for return indicated on the check states that it was returned because it was postdated, and if it is no longer postdated when redeposited.

3.  To determine when funds must be made available for withdrawal, the banking day on which the check is redeposited is considered to be the day of deposit. A depositary bank that made $100 of a check available for withdrawal under § 229.10(c)(1)(vii) can charge back the full amount of the check, including the $100, if the check is returned unpaid, and the $100 need not be made available again if the check is redeposited.

E.  229.13(d) Repeated Overdrafts

1.  The EFA Act gives the Board the authority to establish an exception for "deposit accounts which have been overdrawn repeatedly." This paragraph provides two tests to determine what constitutes repeated overdrafts. Under the first test, a customer's accounts are considered repeatedly overdrawn if, on six banking days within the preceding six months, the available balance in any account held by the customer is negative, or the balance would have become negative if checks or other charges to the account had been paid, rather than returned. This test can be met based on separate occurrences (e.g., checks that are returned for insufficient funds on six different days), or based on one occurrence (e.g., a negative balance that remains on the customer's account for six banking days). If the bank dishonors a check that otherwise would have created a negative balance, however, the incident is considered an overdraft only on that day.

2.  The second test addresses substantial overdrafts. Such overdrafts increase the risk to the depositary bank of dealing with the repeated overdrafter. Under this test, a customer incurs repeated overdrafts if, on two banking days within the preceding six months, the available balance in any account held by the customer is negative in an amount of $5,000 or more, or would have become negative in an amount of $5,000 or more if checks or other charges to the account had been paid.

3.  The exception relates not only to overdrafts caused by checks drawn on the account, but also overdrafts caused by other debit charges (e.g. ACH debits, point-of-sale transactions, returned checks, account fees, etc.). If the potential debit is in excess of available funds, the exception applies regardless of whether the items were paid or returned unpaid. An overdraft resulting from an error on the part of the depositary bank, or from the imposition of overdraft charges for which the customer is entitled to a refund under §§ 229.13(e) or 229.16(c), cannot be considered in determining whether the customer is a repeated overdrafter. The exception excludes accounts with overdraft lines of credit, unless the credit line has been exceeded or would have been exceeded if the checks or other charges to the account had been paid.

4.  This exception applies to local and nonlocal checks, as well as to checks that otherwise would be made available on the next (or second) business day after the day of deposit under § 229.10(c). When a bank places or extends a hold under this exception, it need not make the first $100 of a deposit available for withdrawal on the next business day, as otherwise would be required by § 229.10(c)(1)(vii).

1Section 602(11) of the Act (12 U.S.C. 4001(11)) defines "depository check" as "any cashier's check, certified check, teller's check, and any other functionally equivalent instrument as determined by the Board." Go back to Text

2Nothing in the Act or this regulation affects terms of account arrangements, such as negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, which may require prior notice of withdrawal. (See 12 CFR 204.2(e)(2).) Go back to Text


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