Check Services Business Continuity Guide

In the event of a service disruption, refer to Service Status to obtain the current operational status, instructions on what you can do and contact information for further questions.

In the event of a severe service disruption, your organization should notify critical staff, be prepared to potentially receive items and/or files later than normal and react accordingly.


Disruption to Check Services

During a check-processing disruption, Federal Reserve staff will work to ensure the highest possible level of service. Successful operations will require both coordination and cooperation between financial institutions and Federal Reserve staff. The Federal Reserve FedACH and Check Customer Support will broadcast information to financial institutions using e-mail, FedLine® Home, telephone or website postings. FedACH and Check Customer Support offers service support for Check Adjustments, Check 21, FedImage® Archive, Electronic Check (Payor) Services, Paper Check Processing/Inquiries and LDRIN. You may also view the current Service Status and/or General Notifications of Check Services processing by accessing Service Status at any time.

How You Should Prepare

Your institution's normal operating procedures, record keeping practices and attention to daily routine are important safeguards against check processing interruptions. In addition, knowledge of the plans outlined here will help ensure continued service during a Federal Reserve check processing disruption.

It is essential that key personnel at your institution are aware of these procedures and ready to implement your plans as needed. We suggest printing and distributing copies of this information to appropriate personnel and including this information in your institution's business resumption plan.

What You Can Expect

Because each disruption is unique, the Federal Reserve will react according to the specific situation. The information in this section indicates what a financial institution may generally expect, but is not intended to specifically describe what will happen during any business disruption.

Depositing Financial Institutions

In the event of a significant service disruption, Check 21 files from FedForward® and FedReturn® depositors may be routed by the Federal Reserve to our back-up site/servers for processing in order to minimize the impact on electronic depositors and ultimately electronic receivers. Availability for Check 21 customer files routed to our back-up site/servers will remain the same. Please note that File Acknowledgements may be delayed depending on the severity and nature of the disruption.

Additionally, an alternative deposit location for legacy paper deposits may be designated and communicated if necessary. Paper depositors may wish to seek alternative channels for return items during any significant service disruption period. Upon resumption of the Federal Reserve legacy paper processing system, reduced paper processing capacity may exist. To best manage capacity issues, the Federal Reserve may encourage paper depositors to seek alternatives and/or may limit services until normal conditions resume.

Payor Financial Institutions

Because of the interdependencies between payor services and deposit processing, institutions should be aware that payor services would be affected by processing changes during a disruption. If deposit processing is in anyway delayed or suspended, payor services for current presentments may also be delayed or suspended. This would include delivery to FedReceipt Plus® and/or PDF customers. However, depending on the disruption, access to archived images may continue to be available.

If Federal Reserve processing is relocated to our back-up site/server, payor services would resume although capacity changes, processing schedules and deposit patterns may affect the service provided. Some disruptions that could occur include:

  • Files typically available in the early morning may be delayed from normal schedules.
  • Same Day Settlement inclusion may be processed on a delayed basis.
  • There may be no access to physical items held in storage.
  • Image archive copies may be used for returns requested from stored items.

What You Should Do

For business continuity planning, financial institutions should consider their ability to react to potential demands of a disruption. Each business disruption is unique and the specific aspects of a business disruption will determine the necessary course of action. In addition, the specific services used by the financial institution, its access to alternatives, sorting capacity, management decisions and legal issues will all need to be considered prior to taking specific action.

While every attempt will be made to recover from the business disruption as soon as possible, it is the responsibility of each customer to conduct its business accordingly.


  • Notify all pertinent personnel at your institution of the service disruption, according to your institution's specific crisis communication escalation procedures.
  • Refer to Service Status to obtain the current operational status of Check Services processing and other instructions.


  • Ensure that you have done your best to manage and fund your account (if necessary).
  • It is important that you reconcile to the point of failure before processing (reprocessing) additional transactions.
  • Review and/or execute your own business resumption plan as needed.
  • Contact FedACH and Check Customer Support with any issues or concerns.

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