M&T Bank : Check Clearing Process
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Check Clearing Process as of October 8, 2004

The check clearing process for the traditional paper flow and the substitute check flow involve the same exact parties:

  • The bank where your check is deposited.
  • The intermediary who processes checks on behalf of your bank. Intermediaries are typically located close to "your bank."
  • Your bank - M&T Bank.
The difference comes in how the Bank of Deposit submits the check data to the Intermediary. Under the traditional paper flow, the bank of deposit will ship the physical paper check to the intermediary. This can occur via plane, truck or other alternative delivery service. The delivery of the paper checks can take a day or two. Once Check 21 is implemented, the delivery of the check data electronically to the Intermediary can happen within minutes or hours.

The final delivery of the check (under the traditional paper flow) or substitute check (under the substitute check flow) is identical. However, as noted above, Intermediaries are located near the check’s bank of origin, so there is minimal time spent in delivering the documents to M&T.

What does this mean for you?

  • If you currently receive your cancelled checks with your account statement, a "substitute check" may now replace your original check.
  • If you deposit a check into your account, it may be returned to you as a "substitute check."
  • Some checks that you write may now clear faster than in the past.  
  • If you request a copy of a check, you may receive a "substitute check" that is now the legal equivalent of an original check.

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