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Sec. 204.134 Linked time deposits and transaction accounts.

(a) Authority. Under section 19(a) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 461(a)), 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)(2) 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) Linked time deposits and transaction accounts. Some depository institutions are offering or proposing to offer account arrangements under which a group of participating depositors maintain transaction accounts and time deposits with a depository institution in an arrangement under which each depositor may draw checks up to the aggregate amount held by that depositor in these accounts. Under this account arrangement, at the end of the day funds over a specified balance in each depositor's transaction account are swept from the transaction account into a commingled time deposit. A separate time deposit is opened on each business day with the balance of deposits received that day, as well as the proceeds of any time deposit that has matured that day that are not used to pay checks or withdrawals from the transaction accounts. The time deposits, which generally have maturities of seven days, are staggered so that one or more time deposits mature each business day. Funds are apportioned among the various time deposits in a manner calculated to minimize the possibility that the funds available on any given day would be insufficient to pay all items presented.

(1) The time deposits involved in such an arrangement may be held directly by the depositor or indirectly through a trust or other arrangement. The individual depositor's interest in time deposits may be identifiable, with an agreement by the depositors that balances held in the arrangement may be used to pay checks drawn by other depositors participating in the arrangement, or the depositor may have an undivided interest in a series of time deposits.

(2) Each day funds from the maturing time deposits are available to pay checks or other charges to the depositor's transaction account. The depository institution's decision concerning whether to pay checks drawn on an individual depositor's transaction account is based on the aggregate amount of funds that the depositor has invested in the arrangement, including any amount that may be invested in unmatured time deposits. Only if checks drawn by all participants in the arrangement exceed the total balance of funds available that day (i.e. funds from the time deposit that has matured that day as well as any deposits made to participating accounts during the day) is a time deposit withdrawn prior to maturity so as to incur an early withdrawal penalty. The arrangement may be marketed as providing the customer unlimited access to its funds with a high rate of interest.

(c) Determination. In these arrangements, the aggregate deposit balances of all participants generally vary by a comparatively small amount, allowing the time deposits maturing on any day safely to cover any charges to the depositors' transaction accounts and avoiding any early withdrawal penalties. Thus, this arrangement substitutes time deposit balances for transaction accounts balances with no practical restrictions on the depositors' access to their funds, and serves no business purpose other than to allow the payment of higher interest through the avoidance of reserve requirements. As the time deposits may be used to provide funds indirectly for the purposes of making payments or transfers to third persons, the Board has determined that the time deposits should be considered to be transaction accounts for the purposes of Regulation D.

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