The 2008 dishonored check or DRI fee is based upon deposit return item cost data independently obtained from a sample of state-chartered banks and credit unions. The Division of Banks (Division) collected these data during the course of its regularly scheduled financial safety and soundness examinations under G. L. c.167, s.2. The sample of institutions reasonably reflects industry differences in asset size, charter type, geographical location and DRI processing procedures. The Division used three years of DRI cost data to determine the maximum allowable fee under Chapter 178 of the Acts of 1997. The data collected from the Division's examination sampling process is summarized below.
A total of 77 institutions were surveyed. This sample included 43 banks and 34 credit unions.2 The cost of processing deposit returned items ranged from $0.88 to $15.89 per item. Banks generally had a lower average cost than credit unions. The average cost to process a deposit return item was $5.85 for banks and credit unions combined. Banks had an average cost of $5.12 and credit unions had an average cost of $6.78. The time for processing a DRI ranged from 3 to 35 minutes and the median cost of all institutions was $4.80 per item.
The maximum allowable fee Massachusetts state-chartered banks and credit unions may assess certain consumer deposit accounts for processing dishonored checks or DRI items under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 167D, section 3 and Massachusetts General Laws chapter 171, section 41A, respectively, shall be $4.80. Because the fee as determined by this decision is the same as the existing fee as determined by the decision of the Division dated November 6, 2007, no additional notice or disclosure is required. This fee determination shall be in effect until December 31, 2009 or until such time as the Division issues its 2009 DRI fee decision.
State-chartered institutions are advised that the above DRI fee is the maximum fee permitted by law. Institutions, however, may elect to impose a lower DRI fee or to waive the fee for their customers.
Steven L. Antonakes, Commissioner of Banks
December 16, 2008