DEFINITION of Green Book
The Green Book is a comprehensive guide for financial institutions processing federal government automated clearing house (ACH) payments and collections. ACH is an electronic funds-transfer system run by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA). This payment system deals with payroll, direct deposit, tax refunds, consumer bills, tax payments and several more payment services. Federal regulations provide guidance for payment of goods and services with credit and debit cards and other electronic payment instruments.
BREAKING DOWN Green Book
The Green Book is designed to deal primarily with exceptions or issues unique to federal government operations, which contains federal agency contact information and website addresses where appropriate. Today, the vast majority of federal payments and collections are electronic. With few exceptions, federal government transactions are subject to the same rules as private industry ACH payments. The ACH regulation, 31 CFR 210, provides the basis for most of the information contained in the Green Book. However, there are other regulations that impact federal government ACH payments.
The Green Book continues to get smaller in size and is designed to deal primarily with exceptions or issues unique to federal government operations. The government no longer prints or mails hard copies of the Green Book, but it is available at the Bureau of Fiscal Service website.
Automated enrollment is a convenient method for financial institutions using the ACH network to transmit direct deposit enrollment information directly to federal agencies for benefit payments. An ENR entry is a non-dollar entry sent through the ACH by any receiving depository financial institution (RDFI) to a federal government agency participating in the ENR program. ENR is the enrollment method preferred by federal benefit agencies. The ENR reduces errors in the enrollment process and allows direct deposit payments to begin sooner than paper enrollment methods.
In addition to the ENR Option, financial institutions can also enroll for direct deposit via the Go Direct website. The Go Direct campaign was a national marketing and publicity campaign sponsored by the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve that increased the use of direct deposit by federal benefit check recipients. The Go Direct campaign has officially ended, but financial institutions can still use the website for enrollment.
The Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service amended its regulations in 2017 governing the use of the ACH Network by federal agencies. The new regulation adopts, with some exceptions, the NACHA Operating Rules.