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Sec. 229.36 - Presentment and issuance of checks.


(a) Receipt of electronic checks. The terms under which a paying bank will accept presentment of an electronic check is governed by the paying bank’s agreement with the presenting bank.

Official Interpretation

XXII. Section 229.36 Presentment and Issuance of Checks

A. 229.36(a) Receipt of Electronic Checks

1. A paying bank may agree to accept presentment of electronic checks. (See §229.2(ggg) and commentary thereto). The paying bank's acceptance of such electronic checks is governed by the paying bank's agreement with the bank sending the electronic check to the paying bank. The terms of these agreements are determined by the parties and may include, for example, the electronic address or electronic receipt point at which the paying bank agrees to accept electronic checks, as well as when presentment occurs. The agreement also may specify whether electronic checks sent for forward collection must be separated from electronic returned checks.

(b) Receipt of paper checks. (1) A paper check is considered received by the paying bank when it is received–

(i) At a location to which delivery is requested by the paying bank;

(ii) At an address of the bank associated with the routing number on the check, whether contained in the MICR line or in fractional form;

(iii) At a branch, head office, or other location consistent with the name and address of the bank on the check if the bank is identified on the check by name and address; or

(iv) At any branch or head office, if the bank is identified on the check by name without address.

(2) A bank may require that checks presented to it as a paying bank be separated from returned checks.

Official Interpretation

B. 229.36(b) Receipt of Paper Checks

1. The paragraph specifies four locations at which the paying bank must accept presentment of paper checks. Where the check is payable through a bank and the check is sent to that bank, the payable-through bank is the paying bank for purposes of this subpart, regardless of whether the paying bank must present the check to another bank or to a nonbank payor for payment.

a. Delivery of paper checks may be made, and presentment is considered to occur, at a location (including a processing center) requested by the paying bank. This provision adopts the common law rule that the processing center acts as the agent of the paying bank to accept presentment and to begin the time for processing of the check. (See also UCC 4-204(c)). If a bank designates different locations for the presentment of forward collection paper checks bearing different routing numbers, for purposes of this paragraph it requests presentment of paper checks bearing a particular routing number only at the location designated for receipt of forward collection paper checks bearing that routing number.

b. If the check specifies the name and address of a branch or head office, or other location (such as a processing center), the paper check may be delivered to that office or other location. If the address is too general to identify a particular office, delivery may be made at any office consistent with the address. For example, if the address is “San Francisco, California,” each office in San Francisco must accept presentment of paper checks. The designation of an address on the check generally is in the control of the paying bank.

c. i. Delivery of a paper check may be made at an office of the bank associated with the routing number on the check. In the case of a substitute check, delivery may be made at an office of the bank associated with the routing number in the electronic check from which it was derived. The office associated with the routing number of a bank is found in American Bankers Association Key to Routing Numbers, published by an agent of the American Bankers Association, which lists a city and state address for each routing number. Paper checks generally are handled by collecting banks on the basis of the nine-digit routing number contained in the MICR line (or on the basis of the fractional form routing number if the MICR line is obliterated) on the check, rather than the printed name or address. The definition of a paying bank in §229.2(z) includes a bank designated by routing number, whether or not there is a name on the check, and whether or not any name is consistent with the routing number. Where a check is payable by one bank, but payable through another, the routing number is that of the payable-through bank, not that of the payor bank. In these cases, the payor bank has selected the payable-through bank as the point through which presentment of paper checks is to be made.

ii. There is no requirement in the regulation that the name and address on the check agree with the address associated with the routing number on the check. A bank generally may control the use of its routing number, just as it does the use of its name. The address associated with the routing number may be a processing center.

iii. In some cases, a paying bank may have several offices in the city associated with the routing number. In such case, it would not be reasonable or efficient to require the presenting bank to sort paper checks by more specific branch addresses that might be printed on the checks, and to deliver paper checks to each branch. A collecting bank normally would deliver all paper checks to one location. In cases where paper checks are delivered to a branch other than the branch on which they may be drawn, computer and courier communication among branches should permit the paying bank to determine quickly whether to pay the check.

d. If the paper check specifies the name of the paying bank but no address, the bank must accept delivery at any office. Where delivery is made by a person other than a bank, or where the routing number is not readable, delivery will be made based on the name and address of the paying bank on the check. If there is no address, delivery may be made at any office of the paying bank. This provision is consistent with UCC 3-111, which states that presentment for payment may be made at the place specified in the instrument, or, if there is none, at the place of business of the party to pay.

2. This paragraph may affect UCC 3-111 to the extent that the UCC requires presentment to occur at a place specified in the instrument.

(c) Liability of bank during forward collection. Settlements between banks for the forward collection of a check are final when made; however, a collecting bank handling a check for forward collection may be liable to a prior collecting bank, including the depositary bank, and the depositary bank's customer.

Official Interpretation

C. 229.36(c) Liability of Bank During Forward Collection

1. This paragraph makes settlement between banks during forward collection final when made, subject to any deferment of credit, just as settlements between banks during the return of checks are final. In addition, this paragraph clarifies that this change does not affect the liability scheme under UCC 4-201 during forward collection of a check. That UCC section provides that, unless a contrary intent clearly appears, a bank is an agent or subagent of the owner of a check, but that Article 4 of the UCC applies even though a bank may have purchased an item and is the owner of it. This paragraph preserves the liability of a collecting bank to prior collecting banks and the depositary bank's customer for negligence during the forward collection of a check under the UCC, even though this paragraph provides that settlement between banks during forward collection is final rather than provisional. Settlement by a paying bank is not considered to be final payment for the purposes of UCC 4-215(a)(2) or (3), because a paying bank has the right to recover settlement from a returning bank or depositary bank to which it returns a check under this subpart. Other provisions of the UCC not superseded by this subpart, such as section 4-202, also continue to apply to the forward collection of a check and may apply to the return of a check. (See definition of returning bank in §229.2(cc)).

(d) Same-day settlement. (1) A paper check is considered presented, and a paying bank must settle for or return the check pursuant to paragraph (d)(2) of this section, if a presenting bank delivers the check in accordance with reasonable delivery requirements established by the paying bank and demands payment under this paragraph (d)—

(i) At a location designated by the paying bank for receipt of paper checks under this paragraph (d) at which the paying bank would be considered to have received the paper check under paragraph (b) of this section or, if no location is designated, at any location described in paragraph (b) of this section; and

(ii) By 8 a.m. on a business day (local time of the location described in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section).

(2) A paying bank may require that paper checks presented for settlement pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section be separated from other forward-collection checks or returned checks.

(3) If presentment of a paper check meets the requirements of paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the paying bank is accountable to the presenting bank for the amount of the check unless, by the close of Fedwire on the business day it receives the check, it either–

(i) Settles with the presenting bank for the amount of the check by credit to an account at a Federal Reserve Bank designated by the presenting bank; or

(ii) Returns the check.

(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (d)(3) of this section, if a paying bank closes on a business day and receives presentment of a paper check on that day in accordance with paragraph (d)(1) of this section—

(i) The paying bank is accountable to the presenting bank for the amount of the check unless, by the close of Fedwire on its next banking day, it either–

(A) Settles with the presenting bank for the amount of the check by credit to an account at a Federal Reserve Bank designated by the presenting bank; or

(B) Returns the check.

(ii) If the closing is voluntary, unless the paying bank settles for or returns the check in accordance with paragraph (d)(3) of this section, it shall pay interest compensation to the presenting bank for each day after the business day on which the check was presented until the paying bank settles for the check, including the day of settlement.

Official Interpretation

D. 229.36(d) Same-Day Settlement

1. This paragraph governs settlement for presentment of paper checks. Settlement for presentment of electronic checks is governed by the agreement of the parties. (See §229.36(a) and commentary thereto). This paragraph provides that, under certain conditions, a paying bank must settle with a presenting bank for a paper check on the same day the paper check is presented in order to avail itself of the ability to return the paper check on its next banking day under UCC 4-301 and 4-302. This paragraph does not apply to paper checks presented for immediate payment over the counter. Settling for a paper check under this paragraph does not constitute final payment of the paper check under the UCC. This paragraph does not supersede or limit the rules governing collection and return of paper checks through Federal Reserve Banks that are contained in subpart A of Regulation J (12 CFR part 210).

2. Presentment Requirements

a. Location and Time

i. For presented paper checks to qualify for mandatory same-day settlement, information accompanying the paper checks must indicate that presentment is being made under this paragraph—e.g., “these checks are being presented for same-day settlement”—and must include a demand for payment of the total amount of the checks together with appropriate payment instructions in order to enable the paying bank to discharge its settlement responsibilities under this paragraph. In addition, the paper check or checks must be presented at a location designated by the paying bank for receipt of paper checks for same-day settlement by 8 a.m. local time of that location. The designated presentment location must be a location at which the paying bank would be considered to have received a paper check under §229.36(b). The paying bank may not designate a location solely for presentment of paper checks subject to settlement under this paragraph; by designating a location for the purposes of §229.36(d), the paying bank agrees to accept paper checks at that location for the purposes of §229.36(b).

ii. If the paying bank does not designate a presentment location, it must accept presentment of paper check for same-day settlement at any location identified in §229.36(b), i.e., at an address of the bank associated with the routing number on the check, at any branch or head office if the bank is identified on the check by name without address, or at a branch, head office, or other location consistent with the name and address of the bank on the check if the bank is identified on the check by name and address. A paying bank and a presenting bank may agree that paper checks will be accepted for same-day settlement at an alternative location or that the cut-off time for same-day settlement be earlier or later than 8 a.m. local time of the presentment location.

iii. In the case of a paper check payable through a bank but payable by another bank, this paragraph does not authorize direct presentment to the bank by which the paper check is payable. The requirements of same-day settlement under this paragraph would apply to a payable-through or payable-at bank to which the paper check is sent for payment or collection.

b. Reasonable delivery requirements. A paper check is considered presented when it is delivered to and payment is demanded at a location specified in paragraph (d)(1). Ordinarily, a presenting bank will find it necessary to contact the paying bank to determine the appropriate presentment location and any delivery instructions. Further, because presentment might not take place during the paying bank's banking day, a paying bank may establish reasonable delivery requirements to safeguard the paper checks presented, such as use of a night depository. If a presenting bank fails to follow reasonable delivery requirements established by the paying bank, it runs the risk that it will not have presented the paper checks. However, if no reasonable delivery requirements are established or if the paying bank does not make provisions for accepting delivery of checks during its non-business hours, leaving the paper checks at the presentment location constitutes effective presentment.

c. Sorting of checks. A paying bank may require that paper checks presented to it for same-day settlement be sorted separately from other forward collection paper checks it receives as a collecting bank or paper returned checks it receives as a returning bank or depositary bank. For example, if a bank provides correspondent check collection services and receives unsorted paper checks from a respondent bank that include paper checks for which it is the paying bank and that would otherwise meet the requirements for same-day settlement under this section, the collecting bank need not make settlement in accordance with paragraph (d)(3). If the collecting bank receives sorted paper checks from its respondent bank, consisting only of paper checks for which the collecting bank is the paying bank and that meet the requirements for same-day settlement under this paragraph, the collecting bank may not charge a fee for handling those paper checks and must make settlement in accordance with this paragraph.

3. Settlement

a. If a bank presents a paper check in accordance with the time and location requirements for presentment under paragraph (d)(1), the paying bank either must settle for the paper check on the business day it receives the paper check without charging a presentment fee or return the paper check prior to the time for settlement. (This return deadline is subject to extension under §229.31(g).) The settlement must be in the form of a credit to an account designated by the presenting bank at a Federal Reserve Bank (e.g., a Fedwire transfer), unless the presenting bank agrees with the paying bank to accept settlement in another form (e.g., credit to an account of the presenting bank at the paying bank or debit to an account of the paying bank at the presenting bank). The settlement must occur by the close of Fedwire on the business day the paper check is received by the paying bank. Under the provisions of §229.34(c), a settlement owed to a presenting bank may be set off by adjustments for previous settlements with the presenting bank. (See also §229.39(d)).

b. Paper checks that are presented after the 8 a.m. (local time of the location at which the paper checks are presented) presentment deadline for same-day settlement and before the paying bank's cut-off hour are treated as if they were presented under other applicable law and settled for or returned accordingly. However, for purposes of settlement only, the presenting bank may require the paying bank to treat such paper checks as presented for same-day settlement on the next business day in lieu of accepting settlement by cash or other means on the business day the paper checks are presented to the paying bank. Paper checks presented after the paying bank's cut-off hour or on non-business days, but otherwise in accordance with this paragraph, are considered presented for same-day settlement on the next business day.

4. Closed Paying Bank

a. There may be certain business days that are not banking days for the paying bank. Some paying banks may continue to settle for paper checks presented on these days (e.g., by opening their back office operations). In other cases, a paying bank may be unable to settle for paper checks presented on a day it is closed. If the paying bank closes on a business day and paper checks are presented to the paying bank in accordance with paragraph (d)(1), the paying bank is accountable for the paper checks unless it settles for or returns the paper checks by the close of Fedwire on its next banking day. In addition, paper checks presented on a business day on which the paying bank is closed are considered received on the paying bank's next banking day for purposes of the UCC midnight deadline (UCC 4-301 and 4-302) and this regulation's expeditious return and notice of nonpayment provisions.

b. If the paying bank is closed on a business day voluntarily, the paying bank must pay interest compensation, as defined in §229.2(oo), to the presenting bank for the value of the float associated with the paper check from the day of the voluntary closing until the day of settlement. Interest compensation is not required in the case of an involuntary closing on a business day, such as a closing required by state law. In addition, if the paying bank is closed on a business day due to emergency conditions, settlement delays and interest compensation may be excused under §229.38(e) or UCC 4-109(b).

5. Good faith. Under §229.38(a), both the presenting bank and paying bank are held to a standard of good faith, defined in §229.2(nn) to mean honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing. For example, designating a presentment location or changing presentment locations for the primary purpose of discouraging banks from presenting paper checks for same-day settlement might not be considered good faith on the part of the paying bank. Similarly, presenting a large volume of paper checks without prior notice could be viewed as not meeting reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing and therefore may not constitute presentment in good faith. In addition, if banks, in the general course of business, regularly agree to certain practices related to same-day settlement, it might not be considered consistent with reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing, and therefore might not be considered good faith, for a bank to refuse to agree to those practices if agreeing would not cause it harm.

6. UCC sections affected. This paragraph directly affects the following provisions of the UCC and may affect other sections or provisions:

a. Section 4-204(b)(1), in that a presenting bank may not send a paper check for same-day settlement directly to the paying bank, if the paying bank designates a different location in accordance with paragraph (d)(1).

b. Section 4-213(a), in that the medium of settlement for paper checks presented under this paragraph is limited to a credit to an account at a Federal Reserve Bank and that, for paper checks presented after the deadline for same-day settlement and before the paying bank's cut-off hour, the presenting bank may require settlement on the next business day in accordance with this paragraph rather than accept settlement on the business day of presentment by cash.

c. Section 4-301(a), in that, to preserve the ability to exercise deferred posting, the time limit specified in that section for settlement or return by a paying bank on the banking day a paper check is received is superseded by the requirement to settle for paper checks presented under this paragraph by the close of Fedwire.

d. Section 4-302(a), in that, to avoid accountability, the time limit specified in that section for settlement or return by a paying bank on the banking day a paper check is received is superseded by the requirement to settle for paper checks presented under this paragraph by the close of Fedwire.

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