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Regulation Z

The corresponding section of Supplement I (Official Staff Interpretations) for this section is found below.

Sec. 226.3 Exempt transactions.

The Federal Reserve Board's Regulation Z (12 CFR Part 226) has been republished effective December 30, 2011, at 12 CFR Part 1026 as one of the regulations transferred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd-Frank Act. This section of the FRB regulation was republished as §1026.3 of the Bureau's regulation.

This regulation does not apply to the following:4

4 [Reserved]

(a) Business, commercial, agricultural, or organizational credit.

(1) An extension of credit primarily for a business, commercial or agricultural purpose.

(2) An extension of credit to other than a natural person, including credit to government agencies or instrumentalities.

(b) Credit over applicable threshold amount—(1) Exemption—(i) Requirements. An extension of credit in which the amount of credit extended exceeds the applicable threshold amount or in which there is an express written commitment to extend credit in excess of the applicable threshold amount, unless the extension of credit is:

(A) Secured by any real property, or by personal property used or expected to be used as the principal dwelling of the consumer; or

(B) A private education loan as defined in § 226.46(b)(5).

(ii) Annual adjustments. The threshold amount in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section is adjusted annually to reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, as applicable. See the official staff commentary to this paragraph (b) for the threshold amount applicable to a specific extension of credit or express written commitment to extend credit.

(2) Transition rule for open-end accounts exempt prior to July 21, 2011. An open-end account that is exempt on July 20, 2011 based on an express written commitment to extend credit in excess of $25,000 remains exempt until December 31, 2011 unless:

(i) The creditor takes a security interest in any real property, or in personal property used or expected to be used as the principal dwelling of the consumer; or

(ii) The creditor reduces the express written commitment to extend credit to $25,000 or less.

(c) Public utility credit. An extension of credit that involves public utility services provided through pipe, wire, other connected facilities, or radio or similar transmission (including extensions of such facilities), if the charges for service, delayed payment, or any discounts for prompt payment are filed with or regulated by any government unit. The financing of durable goods or home improvements by a public utility is not exempt.

(d) Securities or commodities accounts. Transactions in securities or commodities accounts in which credit is extended by a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

(e) Home fuel budget plans. An installment agreement for the purchase of home fuels in which no finance charge is imposed.

(f) Student loan programs. Loans made, insured, or guaranteed pursuant to a program authorized by title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq. ).

(g) Employer-sponsored retirement plans. An extension of credit to a participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan qualified under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, a tax-sheltered annuity under section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, or an eligible governmental deferred compensation plan under section 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 401(a); 26 U.S.C. 403(b); 26 U.S.C. 457(b)), provided that the extension of credit is comprised of fully vested funds from such participant's account and is made in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 1 et seq. ).


Official Board Commentary

Section 226.3—Exempt Transactions

1. Relationship to §226.12. The provisions in §226.12(a) and (b) governing the issuance of credit cards and the limitations on liability for their unauthorized use apply to all credit cards, even if the credit cards are issued for use in connection with extensions of credit that otherwise are exempt under this section.

3(a) Business, commercial, agricultural, or organizational credit.

1. Primary purposes. A creditor must determine in each case if the transaction is primarily for an exempt purpose. If some question exists as to the primary purpose for a credit extension, the creditor is, of course, free to make the disclosures, and the fact that disclosures are made under such circumstances is not controlling on the question of whether the transaction was exempt. (See comment 3(a)–2, however, with respect to credit cards.)

2. Business purpose purchases.

i. Business-purpose credit cards—extensions of credit for consumer purposes. If a business-purpose credit card is issued to a person, the provisions of the regulation do not apply, other than as provided in §§226.12(a) and 226.12(b), even if extensions of credit for consumer purposes are occasionally made using that business-purpose credit card. For example, the billing error provisions set forth in §226.13 do not apply to consumer-purpose extensions of credit using a business-purpose credit card.

ii. Consumer-purpose credit cards—extensions of credit for business purposes. If a consumer-purpose credit card is issued to a person, the provisions of the regulation apply, even to occasional extensions of credit for business purposes made using that consumer-purpose credit card. For example, a consumer may assert a billing error with respect to any extension of credit using a consumer-purpose credit card, even if the specific extension of credit on such credit card or open-end credit plan that is the subject of the dispute was made for business purposes.

3. Factors. In determining whether credit to finance an acquisition—such as securities, antiques, or art—is primarily for business or commercial purposes (as opposed to a consumer purpose), the following factors should be considered:

i. General.

A. The relationship of the borrower's primary occupation to the acquisition. The more closely related, the more likely it is to be business purpose.

B. The degree to which the borrower will personally manage the acquisition. The more personal involvement there is, the more likely it is to be business purpose.

C. The ratio of income from the acquisition to the total income of the borrower. The higher the ratio, the more likely it is to be business purpose.

D. The size of the transaction. The larger the transaction, the more likely it is to be business purpose.

E. The borrower's statement of purpose for the loan.

ii. Business-purpose examples. Examples of business-purpose credit include:

A. A loan to expand a business, even if it is secured by the borrower's residence or personal property.

B. A loan to improve a principal residence by putting in a business office.

C. A business account used occasionally for consumer purposes.

iii. Consumer-purpose examples. Examples of consumer-purpose credit include:

A. Credit extensions by a company to its employees or agents if the loans are used for personal purposes.

B. A loan secured by a mechanic's tools to pay a child's tuition.

C. A personal account used occasionally for business purposes.

4. Non-owner-occupied rental property. Credit extended to acquire, improve, or maintain rental property (regardless of the number of housing units) that is not owner-occupied is deemed to be for business purposes. This includes, for example, the acquisition of a warehouse that will be leased or a single-family house that will be rented to another person to live in. If the owner expects to occupy the property for more than 14 days during the coming year, the property cannot be considered non-owner-occupied and this special rule will not apply. For example, a beach house that the owner will occupy for a month in the coming summer and rent out the rest of the year is owner occupied and is not governed by this special rule. (See comment 3(a)–5, however, for rules relating to owner-occupied rental property.)

5. Owner-occupied rental property. If credit is extended to acquire, improve, or maintain rental property that is or will be owner-occupied within the coming year, different rules apply:

i. Credit extended to acquire the rental property is deemed to be for business purposes if it contains more than 2 housing units.

ii. Credit extended to improve or maintain the rental property is deemed to be for business purposes if it contains more than 4 housing units. Since the amended statute defines dwelling to include 1 to 4 housing units, this rule preserves the right of rescission for credit extended for purposes other than acquisition. Neither of these rules means that an extension of credit for property containing fewer than the requisite number of units is necessarily consumer credit. In such cases, the determination of whether it is business or consumer credit should be made by considering the factors listed in comment 3(a)–3.

6. Business credit later refinanced. Business-purpose credit that is exempt from the regulation may later be rewritten for consumer purposes. Such a transaction is consumer credit requiring disclosures only if the existing obligation is satisfied and replaced by a new obligation made for consumer purposes undertaken by the same obligor.

7. Credit card renewal. A consumer-purpose credit card that is subject to the regulation may be converted into a business-purpose credit card at the time of its renewal, and the resulting business-purpose credit card would be exempt from the regulation. Conversely, a business-purpose credit card that is exempt from the regulation may be converted into a consumer-purpose credit card at the time of its renewal, and the resulting consumer-purpose credit card would be subject to the regulation.

8. Agricultural purpose. An agricultural purpose includes the planting, propagating, nurturing, harvesting, catching, storing, exhibiting, marketing, transporting, processing, or manufacturing of food, beverages (including alcoholic beverages), flowers, trees, livestock, poultry, bees, wildlife, fish, or shellfish by a natural person engaged in farming, fishing, or growing crops, flowers, trees, livestock, poultry, bees, or wildlife. The exemption also applies to a transaction involving real property that includes a dwelling (for example, the purchase of a farm with a homestead) if the transaction is primarily for agricultural purposes.

9. Organizational credit. The exemption for transactions in which the borrower is not a natural person applies, for example, to loans to corporations, partnerships, associations, churches, unions, and fraternal organizations. The exemption applies regardless of the purpose of the credit extension and regardless of the fact that a natural person may guarantee or provide security for the credit.

10. Land trusts. Credit extended for consumer purposes to a land trust is considered to be credit extended to a natural person rather than credit extended to an organization. In some jurisdictions, a financial institution financing a residential real estate transaction for an individual uses a land trust mechanism. Title to the property is conveyed to the land trust for which the financial institution itself is trustee. The underlying installment note is executed by the financial institution in its capacity as trustee and payment is secured by a trust deed, reflecting title in the financial institution as trustee. In some instances, the consumer executes a personal guaranty of the indebtedness. The note provides that it is payable only out of the property specifically described in the trust deed and that the trustee has no personal liability on the note. Assuming the transactions are for personal, family, or household purposes, these transactions are subject to the regulation since in substance (if not form) consumer credit is being extended.

3(b) Credit over applicable threshold amount.

1. Threshold amount. For purposes of § 226.3(b), the threshold amount in effect during a particular period is the amount stated below for that period. The threshold amount is adjusted effective January 1 of each year by any annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) that was in effect on the preceding June 1. This comment will be amended to provide the threshold amount for the upcoming year after the annual percentage change in the CPI-W that was in effect on June 1 becomes available. Any increase in the threshold amount will be rounded to the nearest $100 increment. For example, if the annual percentage increase in the CPI-W would result in a $950 increase in the threshold amount, the threshold amount will be increased by $1,000. However, if the annual percentage increase in the CPI-W would result in a $949 increase in the threshold amount, the threshold amount will be increased by $900.

i. Prior to July 21, 2011, the threshold amount is $25,000.

ii. From July 21, 2011 through December 31, 2011, the threshold amount is $50,000.

iii. From January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012, the threshold amount is $51,800.

2. Open-end credit.

i. Qualifying for exemption. An open-end account is exempt under § 226.3(b) (unless secured by any real property, or by personal property used or expected to be used as the consumer’s principal dwelling) if either of the following conditions is met:

A. The creditor makes an initial extension of credit at or after account opening that exceeds the threshold amount in effect at the time the initial extension is made. If a creditor makes an initial extension of credit after account opening that does not exceed the threshold amount in effect at the time the extension is made, the creditor must have satisfied all of the applicable requirements of this Part from the date the account was opened (or earlier, if applicable), including but not limited to the requirements of § 226.6 (account-opening disclosures), § 226.7 (periodic statements), § 226.52 (limitations on fees), and § 226.55 (limitations on increasing annual percentages rates, fees, and charges). For example:

(1) Assume that the threshold amount in effect on January 1 is $50,000. On February 1, an account is opened but the creditor does not make an initial extension of credit at that time. On July 1, the creditor makes an initial extension of credit of $60,000. In this circumstance, no requirements of this Part apply to the account.

(2) Assume that the threshold amount in effect on January 1 is $50,000. On February 1, an account is opened but the creditor does not make an initial extension of credit at that time. On July 1, the creditor makes an initial extension of credit of $50,000 or less. In this circumstance, the account is not exempt and the creditor must have satisfied all of the applicable requirements of this Part from the date the account was opened (or earlier, if applicable).

B. The creditor makes a firm written commitment at account opening to extend a total amount of credit in excess of the threshold amount in effect at the time the account is opened with no requirement of additional credit information for any advances on the account (except as permitted from time to time with respect to open-end accounts pursuant to § 226.2(a)(20)).

ii. Subsequent changes generally. Subsequent changes to an open-end account or the threshold amount may result in the account no longer qualifying for the exemption in § 226.3(b). In these circumstances, the creditor must begin to comply with all of the applicable requirements of this Part within a reasonable period of time after the account ceases to be exempt. Once an account ceases to be exempt, the requirements of this Part apply to any balances on the account. The creditor, however, is not required to comply with the requirements of this Part with respect to the period of time during which the account was exempt. For example, if an open-end credit account ceases to be exempt, the creditor must within a reasonable period of time provide the disclosures required by § 226.6 reflecting the current terms of the account and begin to provide periodic statements consistent with § 226.7. However, the creditor is not required to disclose fees or charges imposed while the account was exempt. Furthermore, if the creditor provided disclosures consistent with the requirements of this Part while the account was exempt, it is not required to provide disclosures required by § 226.6 reflecting the current terms of the account. See also comment 3(b)-4.

iii. Subsequent changes when exemption is based on initial extension of credit. If a creditor makes an initial extension of credit that exceeds the threshold amount in effect at that time, the open-end account remains exempt under § 226.3(b) regardless of a subsequent increase in the threshold amount, including an increase pursuant to § 226.3(b)(1)(ii) as a result of an increase in the CPI-W. Furthermore, in these circumstances, the account remains exempt even if there are no further extensions of credit, subsequent extensions of credit do not exceed the threshold amount, the account balance is subsequently reduced below the threshold amount (such as through repayment of the extension), or the credit limit for the account is subsequently reduced below the threshold amount. However, if the initial extension of credit on an account does not exceed the threshold amount in effect at the time of the extension, the account is not exempt under § 226.3(b) even if a subsequent extension exceeds the threshold amount or if the account balance later exceeds the threshold amount (for example, due to the subsequent accrual of interest).

iv. Subsequent changes when exemption is based on firm commitment.

A. General. If a creditor makes a firm written commitment at account opening to extend a total amount of credit that exceeds the threshold amount in effect at that time, the open-end account remains exempt under § 226.3(b) regardless of a subsequent increase in the threshold amount pursuant to § 226.3(b)(1)(ii) as a result of an increase in the CPI-W. However, see comment 3(b)-6 with respect to the increase in the threshold amount from $25,000 to $50,000. If an open-end account is exempt under § 226.3(b) based on a firm commitment to extend credit, the account remains exempt even if the amount of credit actually extended does not exceed the threshold amount. In contrast, if the firm commitment does not exceed the threshold amount at account opening, the account is not exempt under § 226.3(b) even if the account balance later exceeds the threshold amount. In addition, if a creditor reduces a firm commitment, the account ceases to be exempt unless the reduced firm commitment exceeds the threshold amount in effect at the time of the reduction. For example:

(1) Assume that, at account opening in year one, the threshold amount in effect is $50,000 and the account is exempt under § 226.3(b) based on the creditor’s firm commitment to extend $55,000 in credit. If during year one the creditor reduces its firm commitment to $53,000, the account remains exempt under § 226.3(b). However, if during year one the creditor reduces its firm commitment to $40,000, the account is no longer exempt under § 226.3(b).

(2) Assume that, at account opening in year one, the threshold amount in effect is $50,000 and the account is exempt under § 226.3(b) based on the creditor’s firm commitment to extend $55,000 in credit. If the threshold amount is $56,000 on January 1 of year six as a result of increases in the CPI-W, the account remains exempt. However, if the creditor reduces its firm commitment to $54,000 on July 1 of year six, the account ceases to be exempt under § 226.3(b).

B. Initial extension of credit. If an open-end account qualifies for a § 226.3(b) exemption at account opening based on a firm commitment, that account may also subsequently qualify for a § 226.3(b) exemption based on an initial extension of credit. However, that initial extension must be a single advance in excess of the threshold amount in effect at the time the extension is made. In addition, the account must continue to qualify for an exemption based on the firm commitment until the initial extension of credit is made. For example:

(1) Assume that, at account opening in year one, the threshold amount in effect is $50,000 and the account is exempt under § 226.3(b) based on the creditor’s firm commitment to extend $55,000 in credit. The account is not used for an extension of credit during year one. On January 1 of year two, the threshold amount is increased to $51,000 pursuant to § 226.3(b)(1)(ii) as a result of an increase in the CPI-W. On July 1 of year two, the consumer uses the account for an initial extension of $52,000. As a result of this extension of credit, the account remains exempt under § 226.3(b) even if, after July 1 of year two, the creditor reduces the firm commitment to $51,000 or less.

(2) Same facts as in paragraph iv.B(1) above except that the consumer uses the account for an initial extension of $30,000 on July 1 of year two and for an extension of $22,000 on July 15 of year two. In these circumstances, the account is not exempt under § 226.3(b) based on the $30,000 initial extension of credit because that extension did not exceed the applicable threshold amount ($51,000), although the account remains exempt based on the firm commitment to extend $55,000 in credit.

(3) Same facts as in paragraph iv.B(1) above except that, on April 1 of year two, the creditor reduces the firm commitment to $50,000, which is below the $51,000 threshold then in effect. Because the account ceases to qualify for a § 226.3(b) exemption on April 1 of year two, the account does not qualify for a § 226.3(b) exemption based on a $52,000 initial extension of credit on July 1 of year two.

3. Closed-end credit.

i. Qualifying for exemption. A closed-end loan is exempt under § 226.3(b) (unless the extension of credit is secured by any real property, or by personal property used or expected to be used as the consumer’s principal dwelling; or is a private education loan as defined in § 226.46(b)(5)), if either of the following conditions is met:

A. The creditor makes an extension of credit at consummation that exceeds the threshold amount in effect at the time of consummation. In these circumstances, the loan remains exempt under § 226.3(b) even if the amount owed is subsequently reduced below the threshold amount (such as through repayment of the loan).

B. The creditor makes a commitment at consummation to extend a total amount of credit in excess of the threshold amount in effect at the time of consummation. In these circumstances, the loan remains exempt under § 226.3(b) even if the total amount of credit extended does not exceed the threshold amount.

ii. Subsequent changes. If a creditor makes a closed-end extension of credit or commitment to extend closed-end credit that exceeds the threshold amount in effect at the time of consummation, the closed-end loan remains exempt under § 226.3(b) regardless of a subsequent increase in the threshold amount. However, a closed-end loan is not exempt under § 226.3(b) merely because it is used to satisfy and replace an existing exempt loan, unless the new extension of credit is itself exempt under the applicable threshold amount. For example, assume a closed-end loan that qualified for a § 226.3(b) exemption at consummation in year one is refinanced in year ten and that the new loan amount is less than the threshold amount in effect in year ten. In these circumstances, the creditor must comply with all of the applicable requirements of this Part with respect to the year ten transaction if the original loan is satisfied and replaced by the new loan, which is not exempt under § 226.3(b). See also comment 3(b)-4.

4. Addition of a security interest in real property or a dwelling after account opening or consummation.

i. Open-end credit. For open-end accounts, if, after account opening, a security interest is taken in any real property, or in personal property used or expected to be used as the consumer’s principal dwelling, a previously exempt account ceases to be exempt under § 226.3(b) and the creditor must begin to comply with all of the applicable requirements of this Part within a reasonable period of time. See comment 3(b)-2.ii. If a security interest is taken in the consumer’s principal dwelling, the creditor must also give the consumer the right to rescind the security interest consistent with § 226.15.

ii. Closed-end credit. For closed-end loans, if, after consummation, a security interest is taken in any real property, or in personal property used or expected to be used as the consumer’s principal dwelling, an exempt loan remains exempt under § 226.3(b). However, the addition of a security interest in the consumer’s principal dwelling is a transaction for purposes of § 226.23 and the creditor must give the consumer the right to rescind the security interest consistent with that section. See § 226.23(a)(1) and the accompanying commentary. In contrast, if a closed-end loan that is exempt under § 226.3(b) is satisfied and replaced by a loan that is secured by any real property, or by personal property used or expected to be used as the consumer’s principal dwelling, the new loan is not exempt under § 226.3(b) and the creditor must comply with all of the applicable requirements of this Part. See comment 3(b)-3.

5. Application to extensions secured by mobile homes. Because a mobile home can be a dwelling under § 226.2(a)(19), the exemption in § 226.3(b) does not apply to a credit extension secured by a mobile home that is used or expected to be used as the principal dwelling of the consumer. See comment 3(b)-4.

6. Transition rule for open-end accounts exempt prior to July 21, 2011. Section 226.3(b)(2) applies only to open-end accounts opened prior to July 21, 2011. Section 226.3(b)(2) does not apply if a security interest is taken by the creditor in any real property, or in personal property used or expected to be used as the consumer’s principal dwelling. If, on July 20, 2011, an open-end account is exempt under § 226.3(b) based on a firm commitment to extend credit in excess of $25,000, the account remains exempt under § 226.3(b)(2) until December 31, 2011 (unless the firm commitment is reduced to $25,000 or less). If the firm commitment is increased on or before December 31, 2011 to an amount in excess of $50,000, the account remains exempt under § 226.3(b)(1) regardless of subsequent increases in the threshold amount as a result of increases in the CPI-W. If the firm commitment is not increased on or before December 31, 2011 to an amount in excess of $50,000, the account ceases to be exempt under § 226.3(b) based on a firm commitment to extend credit. For example:

i. Assume that, on July 20, 2011, the account is exempt under § 226.3(b) based on the creditor’s firm commitment to extend $30,000 in credit. On November 1, 2011, the creditor increases the firm commitment on the account to $55,000. In these circumstances, the account remains exempt under § 226.3(b)(1) regardless of subsequent increases in the threshold amount as a result of increases in the CPI-W.

ii. Same facts as paragraph i. above except, on November 1, 2011, the creditor increases the firm commitment on the account to $40,000. In these circumstances, the account ceases to be exempt under § 226.3(b)(2) after December 31, 2011, and the creditor must begin to comply with the applicable requirements of this Part.

3(c) Public utility credit.

1. Examples. Examples of public utility services include:

i. General.

A. Gas, water, or electrical services.

B. Cable television services.

C. Installation of new sewer lines, water lines, conduits, telephone poles, or metering equipment in an area not already serviced by the utility.

ii. Extensions of credit not covered. The exemption does not apply to extensions of credit, for example:

A. To purchase appliances such as gas or electric ranges, grills, or telephones.

B. To finance home improvements such as new heating or air conditioning systems.

3(d) Securities or commodities accounts.

1. Coverage. This exemption does not apply to a transaction with a broker registered solely with the state, or to a separate credit extension in which the proceeds are used to purchase securities.

3(e) Home fuel budget plans.

1. Definition. Under a typical home fuel budget plan, the fuel dealer estimates the total cost of fuel for the season, bills the customer for an average monthly payment, and makes an adjustment in the final payment for any difference between the estimated and the actual cost of the fuel. Fuel is delivered as needed, no finance charge is assessed, and the customer may withdraw from the plan at any time. Under these circumstances, the arrangement is exempt from the regulation, even if a charge to cover the billing costs is imposed.

3(f) Student loan programs.

1. Coverage. This exemption applies to loans made, insured, or guaranteed under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.). This exemption does not apply to private education loans as defined by § 226.46(b)(5).







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