December 2009

Key Messages:

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Institutions have begun receiving electronic delivery of their unpaid image returns.  This report now includes the trend information for image returns.  From January to December 2009, the volume of reported image returns grew by 91% from an average of 114,000 per day in January to 218,100 per day in December.

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More than 21,000 routing transit numbers are available to receive check images and over 6,000 are available to receive returns.

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Substitute Checks have facilitated the transition from paper checks to check images.  The monthly volume of substitute checks peaked in the month of October 2007 and the quarterly volume peaked in the second quarter 2008 with 875 million and then declined by 75% during the fourth quarter of 2009 to 220 million.

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On an average day during December 2009, over 59 million check images were received for posting. When the December volume is annualized, it totals 15.1 billion for $17.6 trillion. Also, another 2.9 million checks per day that were sent as images and delivered to paying institutions as substitute checks.  These totaled 752 million checks per year and $864 billion.

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This CheckImage Collaborative image clearing report reflects transactions settled through the Federal Reserve, Viewpointe, The Clearing House and local / regional exchanges.  When the same payments were cleared through two or more of these organizations, those payments were counted only once.

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