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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Title 12: Banks and Banking
§229.31 Returning bank's responsibility for return of checks.
(a) Return of checks. A returning bank shall return a returned check in an expeditious manner as provided in either paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section.
(1) Two-day/four-day test. A returning bank returns a check in an expeditious manner if it sends the returned check in a manner such that the check would normally be received by the depositary bank not later than 4:00 p.m. (local time) of—
(i) The second business day following the banking day on which the check was presented to the paying bank if the paying bank is located in the same check processing region as the depositary bank; or
(ii) The fourth business day following the banking day on which the check was presented to the paying bank if the paying bank is not located in the same check processing region as the depositary bank.
If the last business day on which the returning bank may deliver a returned check to the depositary bank is not a banking day for the depositary bank, the returning bank meets this requirement if the returned check is received by the depositary bank on or before the depositary bank's next banking day.
(2) Forward collection test. A returning bank also returns a check in an expeditious manner if it sends the returned check in a manner that a similarly situated bank would normally handle a check—
(i) Of similar amount as the returned check;
(ii) Drawn on the depositary bank; and
(iii) Received for forward collection by the similarly situated bank at the time the returning bank received the returned check, except that a returning bank may set a cut-off hour for the receipt of returned checks that is earlier than the similarly situated bank's cut-off hour for checks received for forward collection, if the cut-off hour is not earlier than 2:00 p.m.
Subject to the requirement for expeditious return, the returning bank may send the returned check to the depositary bank, or to any bank agreeing to handle the returned check expeditiously under §229.31(a). The returning bank may convert the returned check to a qualified returned check. A qualified returned check shall be encoded in magnetic ink with the routing number of the depositary bank, the amount of the returned check, and 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. A qualified returned original check shall be encoded in accordance with ANS X9.13, and a qualified returned substitute check shall be encoded in accordance with ANS X9.100-140. The time for expeditious return under the forward collection test, and the deadline for return under the U.C.C. and Regulation J (12 CFR part 210), are extended by one business day if the returning bank converts a returned check to a qualified returned check. This extension does not apply to the two-day/four-day test specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section or when a returning bank is returning a check directly to the depositary bank.
(b) Unidentifiable depositary bank. A returning bank that is unable to identify the depositary bank with respect to a returned check may send the returned check to—
(1) Any collecting bank that handled the check for forward collection if the returning bank was not a collecting bank with respect to the returned check; or
(2) A prior collecting bank, if the returning bank was a collecting bank with respect to the returned check;
even if that collecting bank does not agree to handle the returned check expeditiously under §229.31(a). A returning bank sending a returned check under this paragraph must advise the bank to which the check is sent that the returning bank is unable to identify the depositary bank. The expeditious return requirements in paragraph (a) of this section do not apply to return of a check under this paragraph. A returning bank that receives a returned check from a paying bank under §229.30(b), or from a returning bank under this paragraph, but that is able to identify the depositary bank, must thereafter return the check expeditiously to the depositary bank.
(c) Settlement. A returning bank shall settle with a bank sending a returned check to it for return by the same means that it settles or would settle with the sending bank for a check received for forward collection drawn on the depositary bank. This settlement is final when made.
(d) Charges. A returning bank may impose a charge on a bank sending a returned check for handling the returned check.
(e) Depositary bank without accounts. The expeditious return requirements of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply to checks deposited with a depositary bank that does not maintain accounts.
(f) Notice in lieu of return. If a check is unavailable for return, the returning bank may send in its place a copy of the front and back of the returned check, or, if no copy is available, a written notice of nonpayment containing the information specified in §229.33(b). The copy or notice shall clearly state that it constitutes a notice in lieu of return. A notice in lieu of return is considered a returned check subject to the expeditious return requirements of this section and to the other requirements of this subpart.
(g) Reliance on routing number. A returning bank may return a returned check based on any routing number designating the depositary bank appearing on the returned check in the depositary bank's indorsement or in magnetic ink on a qualified returned check.
[53 FR 19433, May 27, 1988, as amended at 53 FR 31292, Aug. 18, 1988; Reg. CC, 54 FR 13850, Apr. 6, 1989; 69 FR 47311, Aug. 4, 2004]