Lenders are not the only bank employees who must be aware of a number of disclosure rules. Deposit personnel -- customer service representatives, tellers, new accounts staff -- also have to be familiar with a growing list of notices and disclosures that must be given to the public.

This column will zero in on the main points related to general account disclosures. As we suggested to lenders several weeks ago, be sure to check the cited regulations for details and unusual circumstances, as well as other required notices and disclosures, that cannot be included here.

In general, only one copy of a particular disclosure or notice must be given to one customer for joint accounts. Also, all of these disclosures must be given in writing.

Prompt Delivery

A Truth-in-Savings account disclosure (Regulation DD) must be given to the customer before an account is opened or a service is rendered, while the customer is present.

If the customer is not present, as when an account is opened through the mail, the disclosure must be sent within 10 business days.

An initial electronic funds transfer disclosure statement (Reg E) must be given to the customer at the time he signs up for an EFT service or before the first transfer occurs involving the customer's account.

If EFT disclosures have not been given and a transfer is initiated by a third party, the bank must send a disclosure statement as soon as possible after the first such transaction.

Funds Availability

Before an account is opened in person, the bank's funds-availability policy disclosure (Reg CC) must be given to the customer.

If the customer is not present, this disclosure must be sent to later than the next business day.

A Truth-in-Savings account disclosure (Reg DD) must be given immediately to anyone who requests one.

If the requesting party is not present, then the bank must send the account disclosure within a reasonable time, such as 10 days.

The bank's funds-availability policy disclosure (Reg CC) must be sent within a reasonable time to anyone requesting a copy.

Notice of Term Changes

A notice must be sent whenever a term on the account disclosure (Reg DD) is changed and will reduce the annual percentage yield or unfavorably affect the customer, such as by reducing the interest rate or increasing a fee.

This notice must be sent at least 30 calendar days before the effective date of the change.

Changes in the bank's funds-availability policy (Reg CC) also require advance notice. This notification generally also must be sent at least 30 calendar days before the change takes effect.

An exception is made when the change will result in faster customer access to funds. In such a case, the notice must be sent within 30 calendar days after adoption.

EFT Alterations

A notice must be sent to the customer of any change in EFT terms (Reg E) that will result in higher fees, increased customer liability, fewer types of available transfer, or stricter limits (frequency or amount) on EFTs.

This notice must be sent at least 21 days before the change takes effect, unless the change is needed to maintain or restore the security of an EFT system.

In this case, the notice must be sent with the next periodic statement after the change becomes permanent.

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