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Sec. 229.37 - Variation by agreement.

The effect of the provisions of subpart C may be varied by agreement, except that no agreement can disclaim the responsibility of a bank for its own lack of good faith or failure to exercise ordinary care, or can limit the measure of damages for such lack or failure; but the parties may determine by agreement the standards by which such responsibility is to be measured if such standards are not manifestly unreasonable

Official Interpretation

XXIII. Section 229.37 Variations by Agreement

A. This section is similar to UCC 4-103, and permits consistent treatment of agreements varying Article 4 or Subpart C, given the substantial interrelationship of the two documents. To achieve consistency, the official comment to UCC 4-103(a) (which in turn follows UCC 1-201(3)) should be followed in construing this section. For example, as stated in Official Comment 2 to UCC 4-103, owners of items and other interested parties are not affected by agreements under this section unless they are parties to the agreement or are bound by adoption, ratification, estoppel, or the like. In particular, agreements varying this subpart that delay the return of a check beyond the times required by this subpart may result in liability under §229.38 to entities not party to the agreement.

B. The Board has not followed UCC 4-103(b), which permits Federal Reserve regulations and operating letters, clearinghouse rules, and the like to apply to parties that have not specifically assented. Nevertheless, this section does not affect the status of such agreements under the UCC.

C. The following are examples of situations where variation by agreement is permissible, subject to the limitations of this section:

1. A depositary bank may authorize another bank to apply the other bank's indorsement to a check as the depositary bank. (See §229.35(d)).

2. A depositary bank may authorize returning banks to commingle paper qualified returned checks with paper forward collection checks. (See §229.33(c)).

3. A depositary bank may limit its liability to its customer in connection with the late return of a deposited check where the lateness is caused by markings on the check by the depositary bank's customer or prior indorser in the area of the depositary bank indorsement. (See §229.38(d)).

4. A paying bank may require its customer to assume the paying bank's liability for delayed or missent checks where the delay or missending is caused by markings placed on the check by the paying bank's customer that obscured a properly placed indorsement of the depositary bank. (See §229.38(d)).

5. A collecting bank or paying bank may agree to accept forward collection checks without the indorsement of a prior intermediary collecting bank. (See §229.35(a)).

6. A bank may agree to accept returned checks without the indorsement of a prior bank. (See §229.35(a)).

7. A presenting bank may agree with a paying bank to present paper checks for same-day settlement by a deadline earlier or later than 8 a.m. (See §229.36(d)(1)(ii)).

8. A presenting bank and a paying bank may agree that presentment takes place when the paying bank receives an electronic transmission of information describing the check rather than upon delivery of the physical check. (See §229.36(b)).

9. A depositary bank may agree with a paying bank or returning bank to accept an image or other notice in lieu of a returned check even when the check is available for return under this part. Except to the extent that other parties interested in the check assent to or are bound by the variation of the notice-in-lieu provisions of this part, a depositary bank entering into such an agreement may be responsible under this part or other applicable law to other interested parties for any losses caused by the acceptance of an image or notice in lieu of a returned check. (See §§229.31(f) and 229.38(a)).

D. The Board expects to review the types of variation by agreement that develop under this section and will consider whether it is necessary to limit certain variations.

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