By the Division of Banks

    This bulletin establishes guidelines for the maximum allowable fee that Massachusetts state-chartered banks and credit unions may assess certain consumer deposit accounts for processing deposited dishonored checks, otherwise referred to as deposit return items (DRI).

    This bulletin applies to all state-chartered savings banks, co-operative banks, trust companies, and credit unions.

    1. Maximum DRI Fee

      The maximum allowable fee Massachusetts state-chartered banks and credit unions may assess certain consumer deposit accounts for processing DRI under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 167D, section 3 and Massachusetts General Laws chapter 171, section 41A, respectively, shall be determined by the Division of Banks (Division) based upon deposit return item cost data independently obtained from a sample of state-chartered banks and credit unions. The Division collects this data during the course of its regularly scheduled risk management examinations conducted pursuant to G. L. c. 167, s. 2. The data collected from the Division's examination sampling process is summarized in its decision establishing certain maximum dishonored check fees at Massachusetts state-chartered depository institutions. This fee determination remains in effect for one year from the date of issuance, or until such time as the Division issues its subsequent DRI fee decision.

      State-chartered depository institutions are advised that the above DRI fee is the maximum fee permitted by law. Depository institutions, however, may elect to impose a lower DRI fee or to waive the fee for their customers. It is also the Division’s opinion that state-chartered depository institutions are not required to provide 30 days advance notice of reductions in deposit account fees under the Commonwealth’s Truth-in-Savings Law, General Laws chapter 140E, and its implementing regulation found at 209 CMR 4.04. Conversely, Truth-in-Savings notice requirements would be triggered for state-chartered institutions if they intend to raise their DRI fees.

    2. Enforcement Policy

      The Division will review the DRI fee policies and practices of state-chartered banks and credit unions during the course of its periodic consumer protection examinations. Corrective action, including reimbursements and other adjustments, will be required for any DRI fee violations. The Division also will initiate corrective action based upon individual consumer complaints filed with the Division’s Consumer Assistance Office.


    This bulletin was first issued in 1998. The determination of a maximum DRI fee was mandated by Chapter 178 of the Acts of 1997, which became effective on February 24, 1998. This bulletin was revised on March 29, 2013 to incorporate the Division’s methodology in calculating the fee.


    G.L. c. 140E; G.L. c. 167D, s. 3; G.L. c. 171, s. 41A.