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Sec. 212.10 Safe harbor.

(a) Protection during examination and pending review. A financial institution that complies in good faith with this part shall not be liable to a creditor that initiates a garnishment order, or for any penalties under State law, contempt of court, civil procedure, or other law for failing to honor a garnishment order, for account activity during:

(1) The two business days following the financial institution's receipt of a garnishment order during which the financial institution must determine if the United States or a State child support enforcement agency has attached or included a Notice of Right to Garnish Federal Benefits, as set forth in Sec. 212.4; or

(2) The time between the financial institution's receipt of the garnishment order and the date by which the financial institution must perform the account review, as set forth in Sec. 212.5.

(b) Protection when protecting or freezing funds. A financial institution that complies in good faith with this part shall not be liable to a creditor that initiates a garnishment order for any protected amounts, to an account holder for any frozen amounts, or for any penalties under State law, contempt of court, civil procedure, or other law for failing to honor a garnishment order in cases where:

(1) A benefit agency has deposited a benefit payment into an account during the lookback period, or

(2) The financial institution has determined that the order was obtained by the United States or issued by a State child support enforcement agency by following the procedures in Sec. 212.4.

(c) Protection for providing additional information to account holder. A financial institution shall not be liable for providing in good faith any optional information in the notice to the account holder, as set forth in Sec. 212.7(c) and (d).

(d) Protection for financial institutions from other potential liabilities. A financial institution that complies in good faith with this part shall not be liable for:

(1) Bona fide errors that occur despite reasonable procedures maintained by the financial institution to prevent such errors in complying with the provisions of this part;

(2) Customary clearing and settlement adjustments that affect the balance in an account, including a protected amount, such as deposit reversals caused by the return of unpaid items, or debit card transactions settled for amounts higher than the amounts originally authorized; or

(3) Honoring an account holder's express written instruction, that is both dated and provided by the account holder to the financial institution following the date on which it has been served a particular garnishment order, to use an otherwise protected amount to satisfy the order.

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