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Nacha Provides Relief Regarding Potential Rules Violations for Elevated Return Levels

4/6/2020 - By Janice Weisz, AAP

Nacha issued an ACH Operations Bulletin on April 2, 2020, to provide relief regarding potential Rules violations for elevated return levels. Businesses that originate pre-authorized ACH debits for services that have been interrupted may face an elevated risk of returns. This could be due to consumers who: 1) lack funds (i.e., return for Non-Sufficient Funds); 2) place stop payment orders with their own banks or credit unions; or 3) make claims that debits are unauthorized because they can no longer access the service or have otherwise canceled service (a health club or gym membership is one example of this).

Nacha encourages that all such businesses, to the extent possible, communicate clearly with their customers about how they will handle pre-authorized ACH debits during periods of service interruption in light of their own particular set of facts and circumstances.

With respect to potential Rules violations for elevated return rates and levels during this period of usual activity, Nacha will provide relief for potential Rules violations on a case-by-case basis. Nacha will consider, among other things:

  • Whether the debits were in fact properly authorized using good authorization practices,
  • Whether the authorizations remained effective in light of any intervening circumstances,
  • Whether the Originator clearly communicated with its Receivers with respect to ongoing debits, and
  • Whether the Originator had a prior history of elevated return rates


Staying in compliance can be challenging, if you have any questions or need assistance, email me or a member of our Financial Institutions Team so we can help. 

Visit our COVID-19 RESOURCE HUB for ongoing updates and information. Due to the ever-changing nature of this event, you should always consult a professional.

About the Author | Janice Weisz, AAP
Janice is a consultant in the Financial Institution Advisory Group at Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund. Janice has been working with financial institutions since 2001 with an emphasis on operations, compliance, audit and internal controls. She currently provides ACH compliance, NACHA compliance, internal audit and other consulting services to the firm’s financial institution industry clients.

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