NACHA, the electronic payments association, today issued a ballot to its members to vote on a revised rule change to implement same-day ACH transactions. The most significant change from the proposed rule issued for comment several months ago is that the interbank compensation fee, the amount paid to financial institutions receiving SDAs to compensate them for costs, has been reduced from 8.2 cents to 5.2 cents. The reduction was the result of the Federal Reserve Board objecting to the inclusion of opportunity costs in the fee calculation.
The balloted rule will require that all financial institutions participating in the ACH network accept SDAs. SDAs will be limited to amounts of $25,000 or less. There will be additional morning and afternoon settlement windows under the balloted rule and financial institutions receiving SDAs must make those funds available by 5 p.m. local time.
The ballot is due on May 18, but that doesn’t mean it is a done deal even if 100 percent of the voters approve it. The Fed operates a voluntary same-day ACH program currently and will need to make changes to Operating Circular 3 to implement the new NACHA rule if it passes. It is believed that if the ballot passes, the Federal Reserve Board will institute its own 60-day public comment period to allow for input on the necessary changes to Operating Circular 3.
For this reason, the NACHA ballot has a provision that would automatically suspend the rule if the Fed does not affirmatively support the change by Sept. 23, 2015. As an operator, the Federal Reserve has a de facto pocket veto of the SDA proposal if it won’t process the transactions. The Sept. 23 date is significant because if the Fed doesn’t support the proposal by that time, the implementation deadlines will be at risk and the first step towards faster payments will be delayed—again.