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Sec. 210.12 Return of cash items and handling of returned checks.*

This section includes amendments effective January 1, 2019. They are shown in TEAL TEXT.


(a) Return of items—(1) Return of cash items handled by Reserve Banks. A paying bank that receives a cash item from a Reserve Bank, other than for immediate payment over the counter, and that settles for the item as provided in §210.9(b) of this subpart, may, before it has finally paid the item, return the item to any Reserve Bank (unless its Administrative Reserve Bank directs it to return the item to a specific Reserve Bank) in accordance with subpart C of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC), the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars. A paying bank that receives a cash item from a Reserve Bank also may return the item prior to settlement, in accordance with §210.9(b) of this subpart and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars. The rules or practices of a clearinghouse through which the item was presented, or a special collection agreement under which the item was presented, may not extend these return times, but may provide for a shorter return time.

(2) Return of checks not handled by Reserve Banks. A paying bank that receives a check as defined in §229.2(k) of this chapter (Regulation CC), other than from a Reserve Bank, and that determines not to pay the check, may send the returned check to any Reserve Bank (unless its Administrative Reserve Bank directs it to send the returned check to a specific Reserve Bank) in accordance with subpart C of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC), the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars. A returning bank may send a returned check to any Reserve Bank (unless its Administrative Reserve Bank directs it to send the returned check to a specific Reserve Bank) in accordance with subpart C of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC), the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars.

Editor's Note: Effective January 1, 2019, paragraph (a) is revised to read:

(a) Return of items— (1) Return of cash items handled by Reserve Banks. A paying bank that receives a cash item from a Reserve Bank, other than for immediate payment over the counter, and that settles for the item as provided in § 210.9(b), may, before it has finally paid the item, return the item to any Reserve Bank (unless its Administrative Reserve Bank directs it to return the item to a specific Reserve Bank) in accordance with subpart C of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC), the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars. A paying bank that receives a cash item from a Reserve Bank also may return the item prior to settlement, in accordance with § 210.9(b) and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars. The rules or practices of a clearinghouse through which the item was presented, or a special collection agreement under which the item was presented, may not extend these return times, but may provide for a shorter return time.

(2) Return of checks not handled by Reserve Banks. A paying bank that receives a check, other than from a Reserve Bank, and that determines not to pay the check, may send the returned check to any Reserve Bank (unless its Administrative Reserve Bank directs it to send the returned check to a specific Reserve Bank) in accordance with subpart C of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC), the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars. A returning bank may send a returned check to any Reserve Bank (unless its Administrative Reserve Bank directs it to send the returned check to a specific Reserve Bank) in accordance with subpart C of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC), the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Reserve Banks' operating circulars.

(b) Handling of returned checks.

(1) The following parties, in the following order, are deemed to have handled a returned check sent to a Reserve Bank under paragraph (a) of this section—

(i) The paying or returning bank;

(ii) The paying bank's or returning bank's Administrative Reserve Bank;

(iii) The Reserve Bank that receives the returned check from the paying or returning bank (if different from the paying bank's or returning bank's Administrative Reserve Bank); and

(iv) Another Reserve Bank, if any, that receives the returned check from a Reserve Bank.

(2) A Reserve Bank that is not described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section is not a party that handles a returned check and is not a returning bank with respect to a returned check.

(3) The identity and order of the parties under paragraph (b)(1) of this section determine the relationships and the rights and liabilities of the parties under this subpart, part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC), and the Uniform Commercial Code.

(c) Paying bank's and returning bank's agreement. The warranties, authorizations, and agreements made pursuant to this paragraph may not be disclaimed and are made whether or not the returned check bears an indorsement of the paying bank or returning bank. By sending a returned check to a Reserve Bank, the paying bank or returning bank does all of the following.

(1) Authorization to handled returned check. The paying bank or returning bank authorizes the paying bank's or returning bank's administrative Reserve Bank, and any other Reserve Bank or returning bank to which the returned check is sent, to handle the returned check (and authorizes any Reserve Bank that handles settlement for the returned check to make accounting entries) subject to this subpart and to the Reserve Banks' operating circulars.

(2) Warranties for all returned checks. The paying bank or returning bank warrants to each Reserve Bank handling a returned check that the returned check bears all indorsements applied by parties that previously handled the returned check, in paper or electronic form, for forward collection or return.

(3) Warranties for all returned checks that are electronic items. A paying bank or returning bank that sends a returned check that is an electronic item makes the returning bank warranties set forth in and subject to the terms of Sec. 229.34 of this chapter for the electronic item as if it were a check subject to that section.

(4) Warranties for returned checks that are electronic items that are not representations of substitute checks. If the returned check is an electronic item that is not a representation of a substitute check, the paying bank or returning bank warrants to each Reserve Bank handling the returned check that--

(i) The electronic image portion of the item accurately represents all of the information on the front and back of the original check as of the time that the original check was truncated; the information portion of the item contains a record of all MICR-line information required for a substitute check under Sec. 229.2(aaa) of this chapter; and the item conforms to the technical standards for an electronic item set forth in an operating circular; and

(ii) No person will receive a transfer, presentment, or return of, or otherwise be charged for, the electronic item, the original item, or a paper or electronic representation of the original item such that the person will be asked to make payment based on an item it already has paid.

(5) Paying bank or returning bank's liability to Reserve Bank.

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(5)(ii) of this section, a paying bank or returning bank agrees to indemnify each Reserve Bank for any loss or expense (including attorneys' fees and expenses of litigation) resulting from--

(A) The paying or returning bank's lack of authority to give the authorization in paragraph (c)(1) of this section;

(B) Any action taken by a Reserve Bank within the scope of its authority in handling the returned check; or

(C) Any warranty or indemnity made by the Reserve Bank under paragraph (e) of this section or part 229 of this chapter.

(ii) A paying bank's or returning bank's liability for warranties and indemnities that a Reserve Bank makes for a returned check that is a substitute check, a paper or electronic representation thereof, or any other electronic item is subject to the following conditions and limitations--

(A) A paying bank or returning bank that sent an original check shall not be liable for any amount that a Reserve Bank pays under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter or under Sec. 210.12(e)(1)(iii) of this subpart, absent the paying bank's or returning bank's agreement to the contrary;

(B) Nothing in this subpart alters the liability under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter of a paying bank or returning bank that sent a substitute check or a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check; and

(C) A paying bank or returning bank that sent an electronic item that is not a representation of a substitute check shall not be liable under paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section for any amount that the Reserve Bank pays under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter or paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section that is attributable to the Reserve Bank's own lack of good faith or failure to exercise ordinary care.

(d) Preservation of other warranties and indemnities. Nothing in paragraph (c) of this section limits any warranty or indemnity by a returning bank or paying bank (or a person that handled an item prior to that bank) arising under state law or regulation (such as the U.C.C.), other federal law or regulation (such as part 229 of this chapter), or an agreement with a Reserve Bank.

(e) Warranties by and liability of Reserve Bank.

(1) The following provisions apply when a Reserve Bank handles a returned check under this subpart.

(i) Warranties for all items. The Reserve Bank warrants to the bank to which it sends the returned check that the returned check bears all indorsements applied by parties that previously handled the returned check, in paper or electronic form, for forward collection or return.

(ii) Warranties for all returned checks that are electronic items. A Reserve Bank that sends a returned check that is an electronic item makes the returning bank warranties set forth in and subject to the terms of Sec. 229.34 of this chapter as if the electronic item were a check subject to that section.

(iii) Warranties and indemnity for returned checks that are electronic items that are not representations of substitute checks.

(A) If the returned check is an electronic item that is not a representation of a substitute check, the Reserve Bank warrants to the bank to which it sends the returned check that--

(1) The electronic image portion of the item accurately represents all of the information on the front and back of the original check as of the time that the original check was truncated; the information portion of the item contains a record of all MICR-line information required for a substitute check under Sec. 229.2(aaa) of this chapter; and the item conforms with the technical standards for an electronic item set forth in an operating circular; and

(2) No person will receive a transfer, presentment, or return of, or otherwise be charged for, the electronic item, the original item, or a paper or electronic representation of the original item such that the person will be asked to make payment based on an item it already has paid.

(B) If the returned check is an electronic item that is not a representation of a substitute check--

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(B)(2) of this section, the Reserve Bank agrees to indemnify the bank to which it sends the returned check (the recipient bank) for the amount of any losses that the bank incurs under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter for an indemnity that the bank was required to make under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter in connection with a substitute check later created from the returned check.

(2) A Reserve Bank shall not be liable under paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(B)(1) of this section for any amount that the recipient bank pays under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter that is attributable to the lack of good faith or failure to exercise ordinary care of the recipient bank or a person that handled the item, in any form, after the recipient bank.

(3) A Reserve Bank shall not have or assume any other liability to any person except--

(i) As provided in paragraph (e)(1) of this section;

(ii) For the Reserve Bank's own lack of good faith or failure to exercise ordinary care as provided in subpart C of part 229 of this chapter; or

(iii) As provided in subpart D of part 229 of this chapter.

(f) Methods of recovery.

(1) The Reserve Bank may recover the amount stated in paragraph (d) of this section by charging any account on its books that is maintained or used by the paying or returning bank (or by charging another returning Reserve Bank), if—

(i) The Reserve Bank made seasonable written demand on the paying or returning bank to assume defense of the action or proceeding; and

(ii) The paying or returning bank has not made any other arrangement for payment that is acceptable to the Reserve Bank.

(2) The Reserve Bank is not responsible for defending the action or proceeding before using this method of recovery. A Reserve Bank that has been charged under this paragraph (f) may recover from the paying or returning bank in the manner and under the circumstances set forth in this paragraph (f). A Reserve Bank's failure to avail itself of the remedy provided in this paragraph (f) does not prejudice its enforcement in any other manner of the indemnity agreement referred to in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

(3) Any warranty or indemnity made by the Reserve Bank under paragraph (e) of this section or part 229 of this chapter,

!-- START EDITOR'S NOTE -->
Editor's Note: Effective January 1, 2019, paragraphs (c) - (f) are revised and paragraph (g) is added to read:

(c) Paying bank's and returning bank's agreement. The warranties, indemnities, authorizations, and agreements made pursuant to this paragraph (c) may not be disclaimed and are made whether or not the returned check bears an indorsement of the paying bank or returning bank. By sending a returned check to a Reserve Bank, the paying bank or returning bank does all of the following.

(1) Authorization to handled returned check. The paying bank or returning bank authorizes the paying bank's or returning bank's Administrative Reserve Bank, and any other Reserve Bank or returning bank to which the returned check is sent, to handle the returned check (and authorizes any Reserve Bank that handles settlement for the returned check to make accounting entries) subject to this subpart and to the Reserve Banks' operating circulars.

(2) Warranties for all returned checks. The paying bank or returning bank warrants to each Reserve Bank handling a returned check that the returned check bears all indorsements applied by parties that previously handled the returned check for forward collection or return.

(3) Warranties and indemnities as set forth in Regulation CC. As applicable and unless otherwise provided, a paying bank or returning bank makes to each Reserve Bank that handles the returned check all the warranties and indemnities set forth in and subject to the terms of subparts C and D of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC).

(4) Paying bank or returning bank's liability to Reserve Bank. (i) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) and (iii) of this section, a paying bank or returning bank agrees to indemnify each Reserve Bank for any loss or expense (including attorneys' fees and expenses of litigation) resulting from—

(A) The paying or returning bank's lack of authority to give the authorization in paragraph (c)(1) of this section;

(B) Any action taken by a Reserve Bank within the scope of its authority in handling the returned check; or

(C) Any warranty or indemnity made by the Reserve Bank under paragraph (e) of this section or part 229 of this chapter.

(ii) A paying bank's or returning bank's liability for warranties and indemnities that a Reserve Bank makes for a returned check that is a substitute check, a paper or electronic representation thereof, or an electronic returned check is subject to the following conditions and limitations—

(A) A paying bank or returning bank that sent an original returned check shall not be liable for any amount that a Reserve Bank pays under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter, or under § 229.34 of this chapter with respect to an electronic returned check, absent the paying bank's or returning bank's agreement to the contrary; and

(B) Nothing in this subpart alters the liability under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter of a paying bank or returning bank that sent a substitute check or a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check or under § 229.34 of this chapter of a paying bank or returning bank that sent an electronic returned check; and

(iii) A paying bank or returning bank shall not be liable for any amount that the Reserve Bank pays under this subpart or part 229 of this chapter that is attributable to the Reserve Bank's own lack of good faith or failure to exercise ordinary care.

(d) Paying bank or returning bank's liability under other law. Nothing in paragraph (c) of this section limits any warranty or indemnity by a returning bank or paying bank (or a person that handled an item prior to that bank) arising under state law or regulation (such as the U.C.C.), other federal law or regulation (such as part 229 of this chapter), or an agreement with a Reserve Bank.

(e) Warranties by and liability of Reserve Bank.

(1) The following provisions apply when a Reserve Bank handles a returned check under this subpart.

(i) Warranties for all items. The Reserve Bank warrants to the bank to which it sends the returned check that the returned check bears all indorsements applied by parties that previously handled the returned check for forward collection or return.

(ii) Warranties and indemnities as set forth in Regulation CC. As applicable and unless otherwise provided, the Reserve Bank makes all the warranties and indemnities set forth in and subject to the terms of subparts C and D of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC).

(2) Indemnity for substitute check created from electronic returned check. (i) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, the Reserve Bank shall indemnify the bank to which it transfers or presents an electronic returned check (the recipient bank) for the amount of any losses that the recipient bank incurs under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC) for an indemnity that the recipient bank was required to make under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter in connection with a substitute check later created from the electronic returned check.

(ii) The Reserve Bank shall not be liable under paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section for any amount that the recipient bank pays under subpart D of part 229 of this chapter that is attributable to the lack of good faith or failure to exercise ordinary care of the recipient bank or a person that handled the item, in any form, after the recipient bank.

(3) Liability of Reserve Bank. A Reserve Bank shall not have or assume any other liability to any person except—

(i) For the Reserve Bank's own lack of good faith or failure to exercise ordinary care;

(ii) As provided in this paragraph (e); and

(iii) As provided in subparts C and D of part 229 of this chapter (Regulation CC).

(f) Recovery by Reserve Bank. (1) A Reserve Bank that has handled a returned check may recover as provided in paragraph (f)(2) of this section if an action or proceeding is brought against (or if defense is tendered to) the Reserve Bank based on—

(The alleged failure of the paying bank or returning bank to have the authority to give the authorization in paragraph (c)(1) of this section;

(ii) Any action by the Reserve Bank within the scope of its authority in handling the returned check; or

(iii) Any warranty or indemnity made by the Reserve Bank under paragraph (e) of this section or part 229 of this chapter; and

(2) Upon entry of a final judgment or decree in an action or proceeding described in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, a Reserve Bank may recover from the paying bank or returning bank the amount of attorneys' fees and other expenses of litigation incurred, as well as any amount the Reserve Bank is required to pay because of the judgment or decree or the tender of defense, together with interest thereon.

(g) Methods of recovery. (1) The Reserve Bank may recover the amount stated in paragraph (f) of this section by charging any account on its books that is maintained or used by the paying bank or returning bank (or by charging another returning Reserve Bank), if—

(i) The Reserve Bank made seasonable written demand on the paying bank or returning bank to assume defense of the action or proceeding; and

(ii) The paying bank or returning bank has not made any other arrangement for payment that is acceptable to the Reserve Bank.

(2) The Reserve Bank is not responsible for defending the action or proceeding before using this method of recovery. A Reserve Bank that has been charged under this paragraph (g) may recover from the paying or returning bank in the manner and under the circumstances set forth in this paragraph (g).

(3) A Reserve Bank's failure to avail itself of the remedy provided in this paragraph (g) does not prejudice its enforcement in any other manner of the indemnity agreement referred to in paragraph (c)(4) of this section.

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