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Reminder: Juneteenth New Legal Holiday

Last year, President Joe Biden signed a bill on June 17, 2021, to create Juneteenth National Independence Day. The new law amends 5 U.S.C. 6103(a) to add “Juneteenth National Independence Day, June 19” as a specified legal public holiday. While this created a bit of a stir within the lending industry when the bill was signed so close to the date of the new holiday, banks have now had a year to prepare for its second observation.

Banks will have determined the extent to which they will observe the new federal holiday, including whether offices will remain open. As with any time a bank closes, it should consider what functions will remain available. Among other things banks should ensure they have provided adequate notice, consider cut-off times and prompt crediting of payments, access to safe deposit box operation, funds availability schedules, and any impact this might have on lending operations such as closing and rescission rights.

For example, as a result of the new law, the date of June 19 is not a business day under Regulation Z. Because June 19 is a Sunday this year, the holiday will be observed on the following Monday, June 20. For purposes of rescission under Reg Z, a “precise” business day test applies, meaning, the precise day is excluded from the definition of “business day” while the observed holiday (in this example, June 20) is a business day.

In summary, banks should consider if and how they have decided to observe Juneteenth this year and how it will affect their business functions. In addition, banks should consider the regulations with a definition of “business day” to determine how it might affect compliance considerations. Each regulation should be considered individually, as they define “business day” differently.