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Sec. 229.2 - Definitions.*


Amendments to this section will be effective September 3, 2019. They are shown in this color text.

Official Interpretation

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 EFA Act, and to carry out the purposes of the EFA 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.

As used in this part, and unless the context requires otherwise, the following terms have the meanings set forth in this section, and the terms not defined in this section have the meanings set forth in the Uniform Commercial Code:

(a) Account.

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section, account means a deposit as defined in 12 CFR 204.2(a)(1)(i) that is a transaction account as described in 12 CFR 204.2(e). As defined in these sections, account generally includes accounts at a bank from which the account holder is permitted to make transfers or withdrawals by negotiable or transferable instrument, payment order of withdrawal, telephone transfer, electronic payment, or other similar means for the purpose of making payments or transfers to third persons or others. Account also includes accounts at a bank from which the account holder may make third party payments at an ATM, remote service unit, or other electronic device, including by debit card, but the term does not include savings deposits or accounts described in 12 CFR 204.2(d)(2) even though such accounts permit third party transfers. An account may be in the form of--

(i) A demand deposit account,

(ii) A negotiable order of withdrawal account,

(iii) A share draft account,

(iv) An automatic transfer account, or

(v) Any other transaction account described in 12 CFR 204.2(e).

(2) For purposes of subpart B of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, account does not include an account where the account holder is a bank, where the account holder is an office of an institution described in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(6) of this section or an office of a “foreign bank” as defined in section 1(b) of the International Banking Act (12 U.S.C. 3101) that is located outside the United States, or where the direct or indirect account holder is the Treasury of the United States.

(3) For purposes of subpart D of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, account means any deposit, as defined in 12 CFR 204.2(a)(1)(i), at a bank, including a demand deposit or other transaction account and a savings deposit or other time deposit, as those terms are defined in 12 CFR 204.2.

Official Interpretation

B. 229.2(a) Account

1. The EFA Act defines account to mean “a demand deposit account or similar transaction account at a depository institution.” The regulation defines account, for purposes other than subpart D, in terms of the definition of “transaction account” in the Board's Regulation D (12 CFR part 204). This definition of account, 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 EFA Act, which suggests that the EFA 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 EFA 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 deposits) are exempt from subpart B and, in connection therewith, subpart A. However, interbank deposits are included as accounts for purposes of subparts C and D and, in connection therewith, subpart A.

4. The Check 21 Act defines account to mean any deposit account at a bank. Therefore, for purposes of subpart D and, in connection therewith, subpart A, account means any deposit, as that term is defined by §204.2(a)(1)(i) of Regulation D, at a bank. Many deposits that are not accounts for purposes of the other subparts of Regulation CC, such as savings deposits, are accounts for purposes of subpart D.

(b) Automated clearinghouse or ACH means a facility that processes debit and credit transfers under rules established by a Federal Reserve Bank operating circular on automated clearinghouse items or under rules of an automated clearinghouse association.

Official Interpretation

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.

(c) Automated teller machine or ATM means an electronic device at which a natural person may make deposits to an account by cash or check and perform other account transactions.

Editor's Note: Effective 9/3/2019, paragraph (c) is amended to read:

(c) Automated teller machine or ATM means an electronic device located in the United States at which a natural person may make deposits to an account by cash or check and perform other account transactions.

Official Interpretation

D. 229.2(c) Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

1. ATM is not defined in the EFA 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.

Editor's Note: Effective 7/1/2020, para. 1 is amended to read:

1. ATM is not defined in the EFA Act. The regulation defines an ATM as an electronic device located in the United States 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.

(d) Available for withdrawal with respect to funds deposited means available for all uses generally permitted to the customer for actually and finally collected funds under the bank's account agreement or policies, such as for payment of checks drawn on the account, certification of checks drawn on the account, electronic payments, withdrawals by cash, and transfers between accounts.

Official Interpretation

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.

(e) Bank means-- For purposes of subparts C of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, the term bank also includes any person engaged in the business of banking, as well as a Federal Reserve Bank, a Federal Home Loan Bank, and a state or unit of general local government to the extent that the state or unit of general local government acts as a paying bank.

(1) An insured bank as defined in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 18I3) or a bank that is eligible to apply to become an insured bank under section 5 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 1815);

(2) A mutual savings bank as defined in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813);

(3) A savings bank as defined in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813);

(4) An insured credit union as defined in section 101 of the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. 1752) or a credit union that is eligible to make application to become an insured credit union under section 201 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 1781);

(5) A member as defined in section 2 of the Federal Home Loan Bank Act (12 U.S.C. 1422);

(6) A savings association as defined in section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813) that is an insured depository institution as defined in section 3 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 1813(c)(2)) or that is eligible to apply to become an insured depository institution under section 5 of that Act (12 U.S.C. 1815); or

(7) An agency or a branch of a foreign bank as defined in section l(b) of the International Banking Act (12 U.S.C. 3101).

For purposes of subpart C and D of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, the term bank also includes any person engaged in the business of banking, as well as a Federal Reserve Bank, a Federal Home Loan Bank, and a state or unit of general local government to the extent that the state or unit of general local government acts as a paying bank.

Note: For purposes of subpart D of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, bank also includes the Treasury of the United States or the United States Postal Service to the extent that the Treasury or the Postal Service acts as a paying bank.

Official Interpretation

F. 229.2(e) Bank

1. The EFA 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 EFA 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 Subparts C and D, 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 Subparts C and D, 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.

4. For purposes of subpart D and, in connection therewith, subpart A, the term bank also includes the Treasury of the United States and the United States Postal Service to the extent that they act as paying banks because the Check 21 Act includes these two entities in the definition of the term bank to the extent that they act as payors.

(f) Banking day means that part of any business day on which an office of a bank is open to the public for carrying on substantially all of its banking functions.

(g) Business day means a calendar day other than a Saturday or a Sunday, January 1, the third Monday in January, the third Monday in February, the last Monday in May, July 4, the first Monday in September, the second Monday in October, November 11, the fourth Thursday in November, or December 25. If January 1, July 4, November 11, or December 25 fall on a Sunday, the next Monday is not a business day.

Official Interpretation

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

1. The EFA 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 EFA 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 §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 §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) Cash means United States coins and currency.

Official Interpretation

H. 229.2(h) Cash

1. Cash means U.S. coins and currency. The phrase in the EFA Act “including Federal Reserve notes” has been deleted as unnecessary. (See 31 U.S.C. 5103.)

(i) Cashier's check means a check that is--

(1) Drawn on a bank;

(2) Signed by an officer or employee of the bank on behalf of the bank as drawer;

(3) A direct obligation of the bank; and

(4) Provided to a customer of the bank or acquired from the bank for remittance purposes.

Official Interpretation

I. 229.2(i) Cashier's Check

1. The regulation adds to the second item in the EFA 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) Certified check means a check with respect to which the drawee bank certifies by signature on the check of an officer or other authorized employee of the bank that--

(1) (i) The signature of the drawer on the check is genuine; and

(ii) The bank has set aside funds that--

(A) Are equal to the amount of the check, and

(B) Will be used to pay the check; or

(2) The bank will pay the check upon presentment.

Official Interpretation

J. 229.2(j) Certified Check

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

(k) Check means--

(1) A negotiable demand draft drawn on or payable through or at an office of a bank;

(2) A negotiable demand draft drawn on a Federal Reserve Bank or a Federal Home Loan Bank;

(3) A negotiable demand draft drawn on the Treasury of the United States;

(4) A demand draft drawn on a state government or unit of general local government that is not payable through or at a bank;

(5) A United States Postal Service money order; or

(6) A traveler's check drawn on or payable through or at a bank. The term check does not include a noncash item or an item payable in a medium other than United States money. A draft may be a check even though it is described on its face by another term, such as money order. For purposes of subpart C, and in connection therewith, subpart A, of this part, the term check also includes a demand draft of the type described above that is nonnegotiable.

(7) The term check includes an original check and a substitute check.

Official Interpretation

K. 229.2(k) Check

1. Check is defined in section 602(7) of the EFA 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 EFA 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 EFA 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 EFA 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 EFA 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 EFA Act also gives the Board authority to define functionally equivalent instruments as depository checks.1 Thus, the EFA Act is intended to apply to instruments other than those that meet the strict definition of check in section 602(7) of the EFA 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.

1Section 602(11) of the EFA 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 Subparts C and D, 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. A substitute check as defined in §229.2(aaa) is a check for purposes of Regulation CC and the U.C.C., even if that substitute check does not meet the requirements for legal equivalence set forth in §229.51(a).

10. 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) [Reserved]

(m) Check processing region means the geographical area served by an office of a Federal Reserve Bank for purposes of its check processing activities.

Official Interpretation

M. 229.2(m) Check Processing Region

1. The EFA 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 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) Consumer account means any account used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

Official Interpretation

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. A clearing account maintained at a bank directly by a brokerage firm is not a consumer account, even if the account is used to pay checks drawn by consumers using the funds in that account. The bank's relationship is with the brokerage firm, and the account is used by the brokerage firm to facilitate the clearing of its customers' checks. Because for purposes of Regulation CC the term account includes only deposit accounts, a consumer's revolving credit relationship or other line of credit with a bank is not a consumer account, even if the consumer draws on such credit lines by using a check. 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 §229.18(e) (notice of changes in policy) apply only to consumer accounts. Section 229.13(g)(2) (one-time exception notice) and § 229.19(d) (use of calculated availability) apply only to nonconsumer accounts.

(o) Depositary bank means the first bank to which a check is transferred even though it is also the paying bank or the payee. A check deposited in an account is deemed to be transferred to the bank holding the account into which the check is deposited, even though the check is physically received and indorsed first by another bank.

Official Interpretation

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 EFA 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 §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) Electronic payment means a wire transfer or an ACH credit transfer.

Official Interpretation

II. Section 229.2 Definitoins

P. 229.2(p) Electronic Payment

1. Electronic payment is defined to mean a wire transfer as defined in §229.2(11) or an ACH credit transfer. The EFA 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) Forward collection means the process by which a bank sends a check on a cash basis to a collecting bank for settlement or to the paying bank for payment.

Official Interpretation

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 collection, including sending the check to an intermediary collecting bank for settlement, as distinguished from the process by which the check is returned unpaid. Noncash collections are not included in the term forward collection.

(r) Local check means a check payable by or at a local paying bank, or a check payable by a nonbank payor and payable through a local paying bank.

Official Interpretation

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 §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) Local paying bank means a paying bank that is located in the same check-processing region as the physical location of the branch, contractual branch, or proprietary ATM of the depositary bank in which that check was deposited.

Official Interpretation

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.

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, regardless of whether the deposit is made in person, by mail, or otherwise. For example, if a branch of the depositary bank located in one check-processing region sends a check that was deposited at that branch 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 the commentary to the definition of “paying bank.”)

c. If a person deposits a check to an account by mailing or otherwise sending the check to a facility or office that is not a bank, the check is considered local or nonlocal depending on the location of the bank whose indorsement appears on the check as the depositary bank.

(t) Merger transaction means--

(1) A merger or consolidation of two or more banks; or

(2) The transfer of substantially all of the assets of one or more banks or branches to another bank in consideration of the assumption by the acquiring bank of substantially all of the liabilities of the transferring banks, including the deposit liabilities.

Official Interpretation

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 §§ 229.19(g) and 229.40.)

(u) Noncash item means an item that would otherwise be a check, except that--

(1) A passbook, certificate, or other document is attached;

(2) It is accompanied by special instructions, such as a request for special advice of payment or dishonor;

(3) It consists of more than a single thickness of paper, except a check that qualifies for handling by automated check processing equipment; or

(4) It has not been preprinted or post-encoded in magnetic ink with the routing number of the paying bank.

Official Interpretation

U. 229.2(u) Noncash item

1. The EFA 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 §§229.30(f) and 229.31(f).)

(v) Nonlocal check means a check payable by, through, or at a nonlocal paying bank.

(w) Nonlocal paying bank means a paying bank that is not a local paying bank with respect to the depositary bank.

(x) Nonproprietary ATM means an ATM that is not a proprietary ATM.

(y) [Reserved]

(z) Paying bank means--

(1) The bank by which a check is payable, unless the check is payable at another bank and is sent to the other bank for payment or collection;

(2) The bank at which a check is payable and to which it is sent for payment or collection;

(3) The Federal Reserve Bank or Federal Home Loan Bank by which a check is payable;

(4) The bank through which a check is payable and to which it is sent for payment or collection, if the check is not payable by a bank; or

(5) The state or unit of general local government on which a check is drawn and to which it is sent for payment or collection.

For purposes of subparts C and D, and in connection therewith, subpart A, paying bank includes the bank through which a check is payable and to which the check is sent for payment or collection, regardless of whether the check is payable by another bank, and the bank whose routing number appears on a check in fractional or magnetic form and to which the check is sent for payment or collection.

Note: For purposes of subpart D of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, paying bank also includes the Treasury of the United States or the United States Postal Service for a check that is payable by that entity and that is sent to that entity for payment or collection.

Official Interpretation

Z. 229.2(z) Paying Bank

1. The regulation uses this term in lieu of the EFA Act's “originating depository institution.” For purposes of all subparts of Regulation CC, the term paying bank includes the bank by which a check is payable, 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 subparts C and D, the term paying bank also 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 §229.31, 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 EFA 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 may delay the return of these checks, increasing the risks to depositary banks. Subpart C of this part requires payable-through and payable-at banks to return a check expeditiously 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 Subparts C and D 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.

6. In accordance with the Check 21 Act, for purposes of subpart D and, in connection therewith, subpart A, paying bank includes the Treasury of the United States or the United States Postal Service with respect to a check payable by that entity and sent to that entity for payment or collection, even though the Treasury and Postal Service are not defined as banks for purposes of subparts B and C. Because the Federal Reserve Banks act as fiscal agents for the Treasury and the U.S. Postal Service and in that capacity are designated as presentment locations for Treasury checks and U.S. Postal Service money orders, a Treasury check or U.S. Postal Service money order presented to a Federal Reserve Bank is considered to be presented to the Treasury or U.S. Postal Service, respectively.

(aa) Proprietary ATM means an ATM that is--

(1) Owned or operated by, or operated exclusively for, the depositary bank;

(2) Located on the premises (including the outside wall) of the depositary bank; or

(3) Located within 50 feet of the premises of the depositary bank, and not identified as being owned or operated by another entity. If more than one bank meets the owned or operated criterion of paragraph (aa)(1) of this section, the ATM is considered proprietary to the bank that operates it.

Official Interpretation

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 EFA 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 EFA 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 EFA 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) Qualified returned check means a returned check that is prepared for automated return to the depositary bank by placing the check in a carrier envelope or placing a strip on the check and encoding the strip or envelope in magnetic ink. A qualified returned check need not contain other elements of a check drawn on the depositary bank, such as the name of the depositary bank.

Official Interpretation

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. Qualified returned checks are identified by placing a “2” in the case of an original check (or a “5” in the case of a substitute check) in position 44 of the qualified return MICR line as a return identifier in accordance with American National Standard Specifications for Placement and Location of MICR Printing, X9.13 (hereinafter “ANS X9.13”) for original checks or American National Standard Specifications for an Image Replacement Document—IRD, X9.100-140 (hereinafter “ANS X9.100-140”) for substitute checks.

2. Generally, under the standard of care imposed by §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 §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) Returning bank means a bank (other than the paying or depositary bank) handling a returned check or notice in lieu of return. A returning bank is also a collecting bank for purposes of UCC 4-202(b).

Official Interpretation

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 §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 §229.35(b).)

(dd) Routing number means--

(1) The number printed on the face of a check in fractional form or in nine-digit form;

(2) The number in a bank's indorsement in fractional or nine-digit form; or

(3) For purposes of subpart C and subpart D, the bank-identification number contained in an electronic check or electronic returned check.

Official Interpretation

DD. 229.2(dd) Routing Number

1. Each bank is assigned a routing number by an agent of 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 form of the routing number of the paying bank generally is printed in magnetic ink near the bottom of the check (the MICR line; see ANS X9.13). In the case of an electronic check, the routing number of the paying bank is contained in the electronic image of the check (in nine-digit form and fractional form) and in the electronic information related to the check (in nine-digit form). When a check is payable by one bank but payable through another bank, the routing number appearing on the check is that of the payable-through bank, not the payor bank. Industry standards require depositary banks, subsequent collecting banks, and returning banks to place their routing numbers in nine-digit form in their indorsements. (See §229.35 and commentary thereto).

(ee) Similarly situated bank means a bank of similar size, located in the same community, and with similar check handling activities as the paying bank or returning bank.

(ff) State means a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. For purposes of subpart D of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, state also means Guam, American Samoa, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory of the United States.

Editor's Note: Effective 9/3/2019, paragraph (ff) is amended to read:

(ff) State means a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. For purposes of subpart D of this part and, in connection therewith, this subpart A, state also means the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and any other territory of the United States.

(gg) Teller's check means a check provided to a customer of a bank or acquired from a bank for remittance purposes, that is drawn by the bank, and drawn on another bank or payable through or at a bank.

Official Interpretation

GG. 229.2(gg) Teller's Check

1. Teller's check is defined in the EFA 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) Traveler's check means an instrument for the payment of money that--

(1) Is drawn on or payable through or at a bank;

(2) Is designated on its face by the term traveler's check or by any substantially similar term or is commonly known and marketed as a traveler's check by a corporation or bank that is an issuer of traveler's checks;

(3) Provides for a specimen signature of the purchaser to be completed at the time of purchase; and

(4) Provides for a countersignature of the purchaser to be completed at the time of negotiation.

Official Interpretation

HH. 229.2(hh) Traveler's Check

1. The EFA 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 §229.13(a); 12 U.S.C. 4003(a)(1)(C).) The EFA 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) Uniform Commercial Code, Code, or U.C.C. means the Uniform Commercial Code as adopted in a state.

Official Interpretation

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) United States means the states, including the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Editor's Note: Effective 9/3/2019, paragraph (jj) is amended to read:

(jj) United States means the states, including the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

(kk) Unit of general local government means any city, county, parish, town, township, village, or other general purpose political subdivision of a state. The term does not include special purpose units of government, such as school districts or water districts.

Official Interpretation

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) Wire transfer means 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 through Fedwire, the Clearing House Interbank Payments System, other similar network, between banks, or on the books of a bank. Wire transfer does not include an electronic fund transfer as defined in section 903(6) of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (15 U.S.C. 1693a(6)).

Official Interpretation

LL. 229.2(ll) Wire Transfer

1. The EFA 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) Fedwire has the same meaning as that set forth in Sec. 210.26(e) of this chapter.

(nn) Good faith means honesty in fact and observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.

Official Interpretation

NN. 229.2(nn) Good Faith

1. This definition of good faith derives from U.C.C. 3-103(a)(4).

(oo) Interest compensation means an amount of money calculated at the average of the Federal Funds rates published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for each of the days for which interest compensation is payable, divided by 360. The Federal Funds rate for any day on which a published rate is not available is the same as the published rate for the last preceding day for which there is a published rate.

Official Interpretation

OO. 229.2(oo) Interest Compensation

1. This calculation of interest compensation derives from U.C.C. 4A-506(b). (See §§ 229.34(e) and 229.36(f).)

(pp) Contractual branch, with respect to a bank, means a branch of another bank that accepts a deposit on behalf of the first bank.

Official Interpretation

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 §§ 229.2(s) and 229.19(a) of the regulation and the commentary to §§ 229.2(s), 229.10(c), 229.14(a), 229.16(a), 229.18(b), and 229.19(a).

(qq) Claimant bank means a bank that submits a claim for a recredit for a substitute check to an indemnifying bank under §229.55.

(rr) Collecting bank means any bank handling a check for forward collection, except the paying bank.

(ss) Consumer means a natural person who—

(1) With respect to a check handled for forward collection, draws the check on a consumer account; or

(2) With respect to a check handled for return, deposits the check into or cashes the check against a consumer account.

(tt) Customer means a person having an account with a bank.

(uu) Indemnifying bank means a bank that provides an indemnity under § 229.53 with respect to a substitute check.

(uu) Indemnifying bank. Indemnifying bank means—

(1) For the purposes of § 229.34, a bank that provides an indemnity under § 229.34 with respect to remote deposit capture or an electronically-created item, or

(2) For the purposes of § 229.53, a bank that provides an indemnity under § 229.53 with respect to a substitute check.

(vv) Magnetic ink character recognition line and MICR line mean the numbers, which may include the routing number, account number, check number, check amount, and other information, that are (unless the Board by rule or order determines that different standards apply)—

(1) Printed near the bottom of a check in magnetic ink in accordance with American National Standard Specifications for Placement and Location of MICR Printing, X9.13 (hereinafter ANS X9.13) for an original check and American National Standard Specifications for an Image Replacement Document— IRD, X9.100-140 (hereinafter ANS X9.100-140) for a substitute check, or

(2) For purposes of subpart C and subpart D, contained in a record specified for MICR line data in an electronic check or electronic returned check in accordance with American National Standard Specifications for Electronic Exchange of Check Image Data— Domestic, X9.100-187 (hereinafter ANS X9.100—187).

Official Interpretation

VV. 229.2(vv) MICR Line

1. Information in the MICR line of a check must be printed in accordance with ANS X9.13 for original checks and in accordance with ANS X9.100-140 for substitute checks, and must be contained in electronic checks in accordance with ANS X9.100-187. These standards could vary the requirements for printing the MICR line, such as by indicating circumstances under which the use of magnetic ink is not required. Banks that exchange checks electronically may agree to other standards for including MICR line information in the checks that they exchange electronically.

(ww) Original check means the first paper check issued with respect to a particular payment transaction.

Official Interpretation

WW. 229.2(ww) Original Check

1. The definition of original check distinguishes the first paper check signed or otherwise authorized by the drawer to effect a particular payment transaction from a substitute check or other paper or electronic representation that is derived from an original check or substitute check. There is only one original check for any particular payment transaction. However, multiple substitute checks could be created to represent that original check at various points in the check collection and return process.

(xx) Paper or electronic representation of a substitute check means any copy of or information related to a substitute check that a bank handles for forward collection or return, charges to a customer’s account, or provides to a person as a record of a check payment made by the person.

Official Interpretation

XX. 229.2(xx) Paper or Electronic Representation of a Substitute Check

1. Receipt of a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check does not trigger indemnity or expedited recredit rights, although the recipient nonetheless could have a warranty claim or a claim under other check law with respect to that document or the underlying payment transaction. A paper or electronic representation of a substitute check would include a representation of a substitute check that was drawn on an account, as well as a representation of a substitute traveler's check, credit card check, or other item that meets the substitute check definition. The following examples illustrate the scope of the definition.

Examples.

a. A bank receives electronic presentment of a substitute check that has been converted to electronic form and charges the customer's account for that electronic item. The periodic account statement that the bank provides to the customer includes information about the electronically-presented substitute check in a line-item list describing all the checks the bank charged to the customer's account during the previous month. The electronic file that the bank received for presentment and charged to the customer's account would be an electronic representation of a substitute check, and the line-item appearing on the customer's account statement would be a paper representation of a substitute check.

b. A paying bank receives and settles for a substitute check and then realizes that its settlement was for the wrong amount. The paying bank sends an adjustment request to the presenting bank to correct the error. The adjustment request is not a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check under the definition because it is not being handled for collection or return as a check. Rather, it is a separate request that is related to a check. As a result, no substitute check warranty, indemnity, or expedited recredit rights attach to the adjustment.

(yy) Person means a natural person, corporation, unincorporated company, partnership, government unit or instrumentality, trust, or any other entity or organization.

(zz) Reconverting bank means—

(1) The bank that creates a substitute check; or

(2) With respect to a substitute check that was created by a person that is not a bank, the first bank that transfers, presents, or returns that substitute check or, in lieu thereof, the first paper or electronic representation of that substitute check.

Official Interpretation

ZZ. 229.2(zz) Reconverting Bank

1. A substitute check is “created” when and where a paper reproduction of an original check that meets the requirements of §229.2(aaa) is physically printed. A bank is a reconverting bank if it creates a substitute check directly or if another person by agreement creates a substitute check on the bank's behalf. A bank also is a reconverting bank if it is the first bank that receives a substitute check created by a nonbank and transfers, presents, or returns that substitute check or, in lieu thereof, the first paper or electronic representation of such substitute check.

Examples.

a. A bank receives electronic presentment of a substitute check that has been converted to electronic form and charges the customer's account for that electronic item. The periodic account statement that the bank provides to the customer includes information about the electronically-presented substitute check in a line-item list describing all the checks the bank charged to the customer's account during the previous month. The electronic file that the bank received for presentment and charged to the customer's account would be an electronic representation of a substitute check, and the line-item appearing on the customer's account statement would be a paper representation of a substitute check.

b. A paying bank receives and settles for a substitute check and then realizes that its settlement was for the wrong amount. The paying bank sends an adjustment request to the presenting bank to correct the error. The adjustment request is not a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check under the definition because it is not being handled for collection or return as a check. Rather, it is a separate request that is related to a check. As a result, no substitute check warranty, indemnity, or expedited recredit rights attach to the adjustment.

c. A depositary bank's customer, which is a nonbank business, receives a check for payment, truncates that original check, and creates a substitute check to deposit with its bank. The depositary bank receives that substitute check from its customer and is the first bank to handle the substitute check. The depositary bank becomes the reconverting bank as of the time that it transfers or presents the substitute check (or in lieu thereof the first paper or electronic representation of the substitute check) for forward collection.

d. A bank is the payable-through bank for checks that are drawn on a nonbank payor, which is the bank's customer. When the customer decides not to pay a check that is payable through the bank, the customer creates a substitute check for purposes of return. The payable-through bank becomes the reconverting bank when it returns the substitute check (or in lieu thereof the first paper or electronic representation of the substitute check) to a returning bank or the depositary bank.

e. A paying bank returns a substitute check to the depositary bank, which in turn gives that substitute check back to its nonbank customer. That customer then redeposits the substitute check for collection at a different bank. Because the substitute check was already transferred by a bank, the second depositary bank does not become a reconverting bank when it transfers or presents that substitute check for collection.

2. In some cases there will be one or more banks between the truncating bank and the reconverting bank.

Example.

A depositary bank truncates the original check and sends an electronic representation of the original check for collection to an intermediary bank. The intermediary bank sends the electronic representation of the original check to the presenting bank, which creates a substitute check to present to the paying bank. The presenting bank is the reconverting bank.

3. A check could move from electronic form to substitute check form several times during the collection and return process. It therefore is possible that there could be multiple substitute checks, and thus multiple reconverting banks, with respect to the same underlying payment.

(aaa) Substitute check means a paper reproduction of an original check that—

(1) Contains an image of the front and back of the original check;

(2) Bears a MICR line that, except as provided under ANS X9.100-140 (unless the Board by rule or order determines that a different standard applies), contains all the information appearing on the MICR line of the original check at the time that the original check was issued and any additional information that was encoded on the original check’s MICR line before an image of the original check was captured;

(3) Conforms in paper stock, dimension, and otherwise with ANS X9.100-140 (unless the Board by rule or order determines that a different standard applies); and

(4) Is suitable for automated processing in the same manner as the original check.

Official Interpretation

AAA. 229.2(aaa) Substitute Check

1. “A paper reproduction of an original check” could include a reproduction created directly from the original check or a reproduction of the original check that is created from some other source that contains an image of the original check, such as an electronic representation of an original check or substitute check, or a previous substitute check.

2. Because a substitute check must be a piece of paper, an electronic file or electronic check image that has not yet been printed in accordance with the substitute check definition is not a substitute check.

3. Because a substitute check must be a representation of a check, a paper reproduction of something that is not a check cannot be a substitute check. For example, a savings bond or a check drawn on a non-U.S. branch of a foreign bank cannot be reconverted to a substitute check.

4. As described in §229.51(b) and the commentary thereto, a reconverting bank is required to ensure that a substitute check contains all indorsements applied by previous parties that handled the check in any form. Therefore, the image of the original check that appears on the back of a substitute check would include indorsements that were physically applied to the original check before an image of the original check was captured. An indorsement that was applied physically to the original check after an image of the original check was captured would be conveyed as an electronic indorsement (see paragraph 3 of the commentary to §229.35(a)). The back of the substitute check would contain a physical representation of any indorsements that were applied electronically to the check after an image of the check was captured but before creation of the substitute check.

Example.

Bank A, which is the depositary bank, captures an image of an original check, indorses it electronically and, by agreement, transmits to Bank B an electronic image of the check accompanied by the electronic indorsement. Bank B then creates a substitute check to send to Bank C. The back of the substitute check created by Bank B must contain a representation of the indorsement previously applied electronically by Bank A and Bank B's own indorsement. (For more information on indorsement requirements, see §229.35, appendix D, and the commentary thereto.)

5. Some substitute checks will not be created directly from the original check, but rather will be created from a previous substitute check. The back of a subsequent substitute check will contain an image of the full length of the back of the previous substitute check. ANS X9.100-140 requires preservation of the full length of the back of the previous substitute check in order to preserve previous indorsements and reconverting bank identifications. By contrast, the front of a subsequent substitute check will not contain an image of the entire previous substitute check. Rather, the image field of the subsequent substitute check will contain the image of the front of the original check that appeared on the previous substitute check at the time the previous substitute check was converted to electronic form. The portions of the front of the subsequent substitute check other than the image field will contain information applied by the subsequent reconverting bank, such as its reconverting bank identification, the MICR line, the legal equivalence legend, and optional security information.

Examples.

a. The back of a subsequent substitute check would contain the following indorsements, all of which would be preserved through the image of the back of the previous substitute check: (1) The indorsements that were applied physically to the original check before an image of the original check was captured; (2) a physical representation of indorsements that were applied electronically to the original check after an image of the original check was captured but before creation of the first substitute check; and (3) indorsements that were applied physically to the previous substitute check. In addition, the reconverting bank for the subsequent substitute check must overlay onto the back of that substitute check a physical representation of any indorsements that were applied electronically after the previous substitute check was converted to electronic form but before creation of the subsequent substitute check.

b. Because information could have been physically added to the image of the front of the original check that appeared on the previous substitute check, the original check image that appears on the front of a subsequent substitute check could contain information in addition to that which appeared on the original check at the time it was truncated.

6. The MICR line applied to a substitute check must contain information in all fields of the MICR line that were encoded on the original check at any time before an image of the original check was captured. This includes all the MICR-line information that was preprinted on the original check, plus any additional information that was added to the MICR line before the image of the original check was captured (for example, the amount of the check). The information in each field of the substitute check's MICR line must be the same information as in the corresponding field of the MICR line of the original check, except as provided by ANS X9.100-140 (unless the Board by rule or order determines that a different standard applies). Industry standards may not, however, vary the requirement that a substitute check at the time of its creation must bear a full-field MICR line.

7. ANS X9.100-140, provides that a substitute check must have a “4” in position 44 and that a qualified returned substitute check must have a “4” in position 44 of the forward-collection MICR line as well as a “5” in position 44 of the qualified return MICR line. The “4” and “5” indicate that the document is a substitute check so that the size of the check image remains constant throughout the collection and return process, regardless of the number of substitute checks created that represent the same original check (see also §§229.30(a)(2) and 229.31(a)(2) and the commentary thereto regarding requirements for qualified returned substitute checks). An original check generally has a blank position 44 for forward collection. Because a reconverting bank must encode position 44 of a substitute check's forward collection MICR line with a “4,” the reconverting bank must vary any character that appeared in position 44 of the forward-collection MICR line of the original check. A bank that misencodes or fails to encode position 44 at the time it attempts to create a substitute check has failed to create a substitute check. A bank that receives a properly-encoded substitute check may further encode that item but does so subject to the encoding warranties in Regulation CC and the U.C.C.

8. A substitute check's MICR line could contain information in addition to the information required at the time the substitute check is created. For example, if the amount field of the original check was not encoded and the substitute check therefore did not, when created, have an encoded amount field, the MICR line of the substitute check later could be amount-encoded.

9. A bank may receive a substitute check that contains a MICR-line variation but nonetheless meets the MICR-line replication requirements of §229.2(aaa)(2) because that variation is permitted by ANS X9.100-140. If such a substitute check contains a MICR-line error, a bank that receives it may, but is not required to, repair that error. Such a repair must be made in accordance with ANS X9.100-140 for repairing a MICR line, which generally allows a bank to correct an error by applying a strip that may or may not contain information in all fields encoded on the check's MICR line. A bank's repair of a MICR-line error on a substitute check is subject to the encoding warranties in Regulation CC and the U.C.C.

10. A substitute check must conform to all the generally applicable industry standards for substitute checks set forth in ANS X9.100-140, which incorporates other industry standards by reference. Thus, multiple substitute check images contained on the same page of an account statement are not substitute checks.

(bbb) Copy and sufficient copy.

(1) A copy of an original check means—

(i) Any paper reproduction of an original check, including a paper printout of an electronic image of the check, a photocopy of the original check, or a substitute check; or

(ii) Any electronic reproduction of a check that a recipient has agreed to receive from the sender instead of a paper reproduction.

(2) A sufficient copy is a copy of an original check that accurately represents all of the information on the front and back of the original check as of the time the original check was truncated or is otherwise sufficient to determine whether or not a claim is valid.

Official Interpretation

BBB. 229.2(bbb) Sufficient Copy and Copy

1. A “copy” or a “sufficient copy” as defined in 229.2(bbb) must be a paper reproduction of a check, unless the parties sending and receiving the copy otherwise agree. Therefore, an electronic image of a check is not a “copy” or a “sufficient copy” absent an agreement to that effect. If a customer has agreed to receive such information electronically, however, a bank that is required to provide a copy or sufficient copy may satisfy that requirement by providing an electronic image. (See §229.58).

2. A sufficient copy, which is used to resolve claims related to the receipt of a substitute check, must be a copy of the original check.

3. A bank under §229.53(b)(3) may limit its liability for an indemnity claim and under §§229.54(e)(2) and 229.55(c)(2) may respond to an expedited recredit claim by providing the claimant with a copy of a check that accurately represents all of the information on the front and back of the original check as of the time the original check was truncated or that otherwise is sufficient to determine the validity of the claim against the bank.

Examples.

a. A copy of an original check that accurately represents all the information on the front and back of the original check as of the time of truncation would constitute a sufficient copy if that copy resolved the claim. For example, if resolution of the claim required accurate payment and indorsement information, an accurate copy of the front and back of a legible original check (including but not limited to a substitute check) would be a sufficient copy.

b. A copy of the original check that does not accurately represent all the information on both the front and back of the original check also could be a sufficient copy if such copy contained all the information necessary to determine the validity of the relevant claim. For instance, if a consumer received a substitute check that contained a blurry image of a legible original check, the consumer might seek an expedited recredit because his or her account was charged for $1,000, but he or she believed that the check was written for only $100. If the amount that appeared on the front of the original check was legible, an accurate copy of only the front of the original check that showed the amount of the check would be sufficient to determine whether or not the consumer's claim regarding the amount of the check was valid.

(ccc) Transfer and consideration. The terms transfer and consideration have the meanings set forth in the Uniform Commercial Code and in addition, for purposes of subpart D–

(1) The term transfer with respect to a substitute check or a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check means delivery of the substitute check or other representation of the substitute check by a bank to a person other than a bank; and

(2) A bank that transfers a substitute check or a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check directly to a person other than a bank has received consideration for the substitute check or other paper or electronic representation of the substitute check if it has charged, or has the right to charge, the person’s account or otherwise has received value for the original check, a substitute check, or a representation of the original check or substitute check.

Official Interpretation

CCC. 229.2(ccc) Transfer and Consideration

1. Under §§ 229.52 and 229.53, a bank is responsible for the warranties and indemnity when it transfers, presents, or returns a substitute check (or a paper or electronic representation thereof) for consideration. Drawers and other nonbank persons that receive checks from a bank are not transferees that receive consideration as those terms are defined in the U.C.C. However, the Check 21 Act clearly contemplates that such nonbank persons that receive substitute checks (or representations thereof) from a bank will receive the warranties and indemnity from all previous banks that handled the check. To ensure that these parties are covered by the substitute check warranties and indemnity in the manner contemplated by the Check 21 Act, §229.2(ccc) incorporates the U.C.C. definitions of the term transfer and consideration by reference and expands those definitions to cover a broader range of situations. Delivering a check to a nonbank that is acting on behalf of a bank (such as a third-party check processor or presentment point) is a transfer of the check to that bank.

Examples.

a. A paying bank pays a substitute check and then provides that paid substitute check (or a representation thereof) to a drawer with a periodic statement. Under the expanded definitions, the paying bank thereby transfers the substitute check (or representation thereof) to the drawer for consideration and makes the substitute check warranties described in §229.52. A drawer that suffers a loss due to receipt of a substitute check may have warranty, indemnity, and, if the drawer is a consumer, expedited recredit rights under the Check 21 Act and subpart D. A drawer that suffers a loss due to receipt of a paper or electronic representation of a substitute check would receive the substitute check warranties but would not have indemnity or expedited recredit rights.

b. The expanded definitions also operate such that a paying bank that pays an original check (or a representation thereof) and then creates a substitute check to provide to the drawer with a periodic statement transfers the substitute check for consideration and thereby provides the warranties and indemnity.

c. The expanded definitions ensure that a bank that receives a returned check in any form and then provides a substitute check to the depositor gives the substitute check warranties and indemnity to the depositor.

d. The expanded definitions apply to substitute checks representing original checks that are not drawn on deposit accounts, such as checks used to access a credit card or a home equity line of credit.

(ddd) Truncate means to remove an original check from the forward collection or return process and send to a recipient, in lieu of such original check, a substitute check or, by agreement, information relating to the original check (including data taken from the-MICR line of the original check or an electronic image of the original check), whether with or without the subsequent delivery of the original check.

Official Interpretation

DDD. 229.2(ddd) Truncate

1. Truncate means to remove the original check from the forward collection or return process and to send in lieu of the original check either a substitute check or, by agreement, information relating to the original check. Truncation does not include removal of a substitute check from the check collection or return process.

(eee) Truncating bank means—

(1) The bank that truncates the original check; or

(2) If a person other than a bank truncates the original check, the first bank that transfers, presents, or returns, in lieu of such original check, a substitute check or, by agreement with the recipient, information relating to the original check (including data taken from the MICR line of the original check or an electronic image of the original check), whether with or without the subsequent delivery of the original check.

Official Interpretation

EEE. 229.2(eee) Truncating Bank

1. A bank is a truncating bank if it truncates an original check or if it is the first bank to transfer, present, or return another form of an original check that was truncated by a person that is not a bank.

Example.

a. A bank's customer that is a nonbank business receives a check for payment and deposits either a substitute check or an electronic representation of the original check with its depositary bank instead of the original check. That depositary bank is the truncating bank when it transfers, presents, or returns the substitute check or electronic representation in lieu of the original check. That bank also would be the reconverting bank if it were the first bank to transfer, present, or return a substitute check that it received from (or created from the information given by) its nonbank customer (see §229.2(yy) and the commentary thereto).

2. A truncating bank does not make the subpart D warranties and indemnity unless it also is the reconverting bank. Therefore, a bank that truncates the original check and sends an electronic file to a collecting bank does not provide subpart D protections to the recipient of that electronic item. However, a recipient of an electronic item may protect itself against losses associated with that item by agreement with the truncating bank.

(fff) Remotely created check means a check that is not created by the paying bank and that does not bear a signature applied, or purported to be applied, by the person on whose account the check is drawn. For purposes of this definition, "account" means an account as defined in paragraph (a) of this section as well as a credit or other arrangement that allows a person to draw checks that are payable by, through, or at a bank.

Official Interpretation

FFF. 229.2(fff) Remotely Created Chec

1. A check authorized by a consumer over the telephone that is not created by the paying bank and bears a legend on the signature line, such as “Authorized by Drawer,” is an example of a remotely created check. A check that bears the signature applied, or purported to be applied, by the person on whose account the check is drawn is not a remotely created check. A typical forged check, such as a stolen personal check fraudulently signed by a person other than the drawer, is not covered by the definition of a remotely created check.

2. The term signature as used in this definition has the meaning set forth at U.C.C. 3-401. The term “applied by” refers to the physical act of placing the signature on the check.

3. The definition of a “remotely created check” differs from the definition of a “remotely created consumer item” under the U.C.C. A “remotely created check” may be drawn on an account held by a consumer, corporation, unincorporated company, partnership, government unit or instrumentality, trust, or any other entity or organization. A “remotely created consumer item” under the U.C.C., however, must be drawn on a consumer account.

4. Under Regulation CC (12 CFR part 229), the term “check” includes a negotiable demand draft drawn on or payable through or at an office of a bank. In the case of a “payable through” or “payable at” check, the signature of the person on whose account the check is drawn would include the signature of the payor institution or the signatures of the customers who are authorized to draw checks on that account, depending on the arrangements between the “payable through” or “payable at” bank, the payor institution, and the customers.

5. The definition of a remotely created check includes a remotely created check that has been reconverted to a substitute check.

(ggg) Electronic check and electronic returned check mean an electronic image of, and electronic information derived from, a paper check or paper returned check, respectively, that—

(1) Is sent to a receiving bank pursuant to an agreement between the sender and the receiving bank; and

(2) Conforms with ANS X9.100-187, unless the Board by rule or order determines that a different standard applies or the parties otherwise agree.

Official Interpretation

GGG. 229.2(ggg) Electronic Check and Electronic Returned Check

1. Banks often enter into agreements under which a check may be transferred, returned, or presented electronically instead of transferring, returning, or presenting the paper check. For example, an agreement may provide that either an electronic image of the check or electronic information related to the check may be sent instead of the paper check. In order to satisfy Regulation CC's definition of “electronic check” (or “electronic returned check”), however, both the electronic image of the check and electronic information derived from the check must be sent. A sending bank and receiving bank may also agree, for example, that instead of sending the electronic check or electronic returned check directly to the receiving bank, the electronic check or electronic returned check may be sent to an intermediary that stores the electronic check or electronic returned check on the receiving bank's behalf and makes the electronic check or electronic returned check available for the receiving bank to retrieve.

2. A sending bank must have an agreement with the receiving bank in order to send an electronic check instead of a paper check. The agreement to receive an electronic check or electronic returned check may be either bilateral or through a Federal Reserve Bank operating circular, clearinghouse rule, or other interbank agreement. (See UCC 4-110).

3. ANS X9.100-187 is the most prevalent industry standard for electronic checks and electronic returned checks that will enable banks to create substitute checks. Multiple standards, however, exist that would enable a bank to create a substitute check from an electronic check. Therefore, the banks exchanging electronic checks may agree that a different standard applies to electronic checks exchanged between the two banks. Additionally, banks that exchange checks electronically may agree to transfer, present, or return only electronic images of checks or only electronic information related to checks. In these situations, the sending bank and receiving bank will have agreed to a different standard as ANS X9.100-187 requires both an electronic image and electronic information.

4. Electronic checks and electronic returned checks as defined in Regulation CC are subject to subpart C, except as otherwise provided in that subpart. (See § 229.30 and commentary thereto).

(hhh) Electronically-created item means an electronic image that has all the attributes of an electronic check or electronic returned check but was created electronically and not derived from a paper check.

Official Interpretation

HHH. 229.2(hhh) Electronically-Created Item

1. Electronically-created items are also sometimes referred to in the industry as “electronic payment orders” or “EPOs.”

2. Because an electronically-created item as defined in Regulation CC never existed in paper form, it does not meet the definition of “electronic check” in 229.2(ggg) and therefore an electronically-created item cannot be used to create a substitute check that is the legal equivalent of the original paper check.

3. An electronically-created item can resemble an electronic image of a paper check or an electronic image of a remotely created check. (See 229.2(fff) (definition of remotely created check)).

Examples.

a. A corporate customer of a bank, rather than printing and mailing a paper check to a payee, electronically creates an image that looks like an image of the corporate customer's paper checks and emails the image to the payee.

b. A consumer uses a smart-phone application through which the consumer provides the payee name, amount, and the consumer's signature. The application electronically sends this information, appearing formatted as a check, to the payee.

c. A consumer calls his utility company to make an emergency bill payment, and provides his bank account information. The utility company uses this information to create an electronically-created item and deposits the electronically-created item with its bank to obtain payment from the consumer.

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