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Sec. 204.133 Multiple savings deposits treated as a transaction account.

Editor's Note: This is an official Staff Opinion issued under Regulation D on August 25, 1992, and codified as §204.133 of the regulation. It represents Staff opinion when issued, and it has not been updated by the FRB to reflect subsequent amendments to the regulaiton itself. Note that in §204.133(b) reference is made to the former three transfers by check, draft, debit card, etc., limit that was removed from the regulation effective 7/2/2009. Note also the reference in the same section to Footnote 5, which was renumbered as Footnote 4 in an overhaul of Regulation D completed several years ago

(a) Authority. Under section 19(a) of the Federal Reserve Act, the Board is authorized to define the terms used in section 19, and to prescribe regulations to implement and prevent evasions of the requirements of that section. Section 19(b) establishes general reserve requirements on transaction accounts and nonpersonal time deposits. Under section 19(b)(1)(F), the Board also is authorized to determine, by regulation or order, that an account or deposit is a transaction account if such account is used directly or indirectly for the purpose of making payments to third persons or others. This interpretation is adopted under these authorities.

(b) Background. Under Regulation D, 12 CFR 204.2(d)(2), the term “savings deposit” includes a deposit or an account that meets the requirements of Sec. 204.2(d)(1) and from which, under the terms of the deposit contract or by practice of the depository institution, the depositor is permitted or authorized to make up to six transfers or withdrawals per month or statement cycle of at least four weeks. The depository institution may authorize up to three of these six transfers to be made by check, draft, debit card, or similar order drawn by the depositor and payable to third parties. If more than six transfers (or more than three third party transfers by check, etc.) are permitted or authorized per month or statement cycle, the depository institution may not classify the account as a savings deposit. If the depositor, during the period, makes more than six transfers or withdrawals (or more than three third party transfers by check, etc.), the depository institution may, depending upon the facts and circumstances, be required by Regulation D (Footnote 5 at Sec. 204.2(d)(2)) to reclassify or close the account.

(c) Use of multiple savings deposits. Depository institutions have asked for guidance as to when a depositor may maintain more than one savings deposit and be permitted to make all the transfers or withdrawals authorized for savings deposits under Regulation D from each savings deposit. The Board has determined that, if a depository institution suggests or otherwise promotes the establishment of or operation of multiple savings accounts with transfer capabilities in order to permit transfers and withdrawals in excess of those permitted by Regulation D for an individual savings account, the accounts generally should be considered to be transaction accounts. This determination applies regardless of whether the deposits have entirely separate account numbers or are subsidiary accounts of a master deposit account. Multiple savings accounts, however, should not be considered to be transaction accounts if there is a legitimate purpose, other than increasing the number of transfers or withdrawals, for opening more than one savings deposit.

(d) Examples. The distinction between appropriate and inappropriate uses of multiple accounts is illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.

(i) X wishes to open an account that maximizes his interest earnings but also permits X to draw up to ten checks a month against the account. X's Bank suggests an arrangement under which X establishes four savings deposits at Bank. Under the arrangement, X deposits funds in the first account and then draws three checks against that account. X then instructs Bank to transfer all funds in excess of the amount of the three checks to the second account and draws an additional three checks. Funds are continually shifted between accounts when additional checks are drawn so that no more than three checks are drawn against each account each month.

(ii) Suggesting the use of four savings accounts in the name of X in this example is designed solely to permit the customer to exceed the transfer limitations on savings accounts. Accordingly, the savings accounts should be classified as transaction accounts.

Example 2.

(i) X is trustee of separate trusts for each of his four children. X's Bank suggests that X, as trustee, open a savings deposit in a depository institution for each of his four children in order to ensure an independent accounting of the funds held by each trust.

(ii) X's Bank's suggestion to use four savings deposits in the name of X in this example is appropriate, and the third party transfers from one account should not be considered in determining whether the transfer and withdrawal limit was exceeded on any other account. X established a legitimate purpose, the segregation of the trust assets, for each account separate from the need to make third party transfers. Furthermore, there is no indication, such as by the direct or indirect transfer of funds from one account to another, that the accounts are being used for any purpose other than to make transfers to the appropriate trust.

Example 3.

(i) X opens four savings accounts with Bank. X regularly draws up to three checks against each account and transfers funds between the accounts in order to ensure that the checks on the separate accounts are covered. X's Bank did not suggest or otherwise promote the arrangement.

(ii) X's Bank may treat the multiple accounts as savings deposits for Regulation D purposes, even if it discovers that X is using the accounts to increase the transfer limits applicable to savings accounts because X's Bank did not suggest or otherwise promote the establishment of or operation of the arrangement.

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