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Regulation CC
Availability of Funds And Collection Of Checks

Appendix E to Part 229--Commentary

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the fact that after such act or omission has occurred, such rule, regulation, or interpretation is amended, rescinded, or determined by judicial or other authority to be invalid for any reason.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 a 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 Act, and to carry out the purposes of the 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 Act defines account to mean ``a demand deposit account or similar transaction account at a depository institution.'' The regulation defines account in terms of the definition of transaction account in the Board's Regulation D (12 CFR part 204). The definition of account in Regulation CC, 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 Act, which suggests that the 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 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 located outside the United States, and direct and indirect accounts of the United States Treasury (including Treasury General Accounts and Treasury Tax and Loan Deposit Accounts) are exempt from Regulation CC.

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 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 liability 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 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 Subpart C, 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 Subpart C, 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.

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

     1. The 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 Sec. 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 Sec. 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 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 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 Act's and U.C.C.'s definitions.

K. 229.2(k) Check

     1. Check is defined in section 602(7) of the 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 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 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 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 Act is intended to apply to instruments other than those that meet the strict definition of check in section 602(7) of the 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.
 

     Section 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.''
 

     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 Subpart C, 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. 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 46 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. 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 Sec. 229.18(e) (notice of changes in policy) apply only to consumer accounts. Section 229.13(g)(2) (one-time exception notice) and Sec. 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 Sec. 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 Sec. 229.2(11) or an ACH credit transfer. The 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 payment as distinguished from the process by which the check is returned after nonpayment. Noncash collections are not included in the term forward collection.

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 Sec. 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. If the branch of the depositary bank located in one check processing region sends a check 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 Commentary on definition of paying 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 Secs. 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 Secs. 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 Subpart B, the term paying bank includes the payor bank, 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 Subpart C, the term 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 Secs. 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 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 Subpart C 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.

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 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 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. Returned checks are identified by placing a ``2'' in position 44 of the MICR line. (See American National Standards Committee on Financial Services, Specification for the Placement and Location of MICR Printing, X9.13 (Sept. 8, 1983) hereinafter referred to as ``ANSI X9.13-1983.'')
     2. Generally, under the standard of care imposed by Sec. 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 Sec. 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 Sec. 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 Sec. 229.35(b).)

DD. 229.2(dd) Routing Number

     1. Each bank is assigned a routing number by Thomson Financial Publishing Inc., as agent for 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 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 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 Sec. 229.13(a); 12 U.S.C. 4003(a)(1)(C).) The 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 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 Secs. 229.34(d) 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 Secs. 229.2(s) and 229.19(a) of the regulation and the commentary to Secs. 229.2(s), 229.10(c), 229.14(a), 229.16(a), 229.18(b), and 229.19(a).

 

Subpart A - General

Subpart B - Availability of Funds and Disclosure of Funds Availability Policies

Subpart C - Collection of Checks

Appendices A & B

Appendices C & D

Appendix F

 

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