Approved Institutions. Pursuant to Rule 1.15 of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, all COLTAF accounts must be maintained at Approved Institutions. To qualify as an Approved Institution, a bank must execute an Approved Financial Institution Agreement and agree (1) to promptly report any overdraft to the Colorado Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel (“Regulation Counsel”); (2) to respond to subpoenas issued by Regulation Counsel; and (3) to pay on its COLTAF accounts the highest rate of interest or dividends generally available to its similarly-situated non-COLTAF accounts (so-called interest rate comparability). For a copy of the Approved Financial Institution Agreement, contact Donna Scherer at the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, 1300 Broadway #500, Denver, CO 80203, 303-928-7841.
Compliance Statements. In order to document compliance with rate comparability, a bank must submit to COLTAF a Financial Institution Compliance Statement with supporting documentation, setting forth how the bank will meet the interest rate comparability requirements. Compliance Statements are subject to evaluation by COLTAF for compliance with the Rule. Once a Compliance Statement is approved, if a bank proposes to reduce its COLTAF rates, it must submit a new Compliance Statement with supporting documentation, which is then subject to reevaluation by COLTAF. This reevaluation may take up to forty-five days, after which, if found to be compliant, the rate reduction may take effect.
Benchmark Rate. Rule 1.15E provides for a Benchmark Rate, which, if paid by a bank, results in an automatic determination of compliance with the rate comparability requirements of the Rule. The Benchmark Rate is a net rate equal to the higher of 0.35% per annum or 60% of the Federal Funds Target Rate. When the Federal Funds Target Rate is expressed as a range, the rate to be used for the benchmark is the highest value in the range. The Benchmark Rate is provided simply as an administrative convenience, and election of the Benchmark Rate is entirely optional. The Benchmark Rate as of March 15, 2017 is 0.60%.
COLTAF Prime Partners. COLTAF recognizes as Prime Partners those financial institutions that go above and beyond the rate comparability requirements of Rule 1.15E to actively support COLTAF’s mission to ensure that low-income Coloradans have access to critically-need civil legal aid. Banks that pay a net yield on COLTAF deposits of at least 75% of the Federal Funds Target Rate, or 0.50%, whichever is higher, are eligible for COLTAF’s Prime Partner Program. When the Federal Funds Target Rate is expressed as a range, the rate to be used for determining Prime Partner status is the highest value in the range. The Prime Partner rate threshold as of March 15, 2017 is 0.75%.
Monthly Remittances. Interest or dividends earned on a COLTAF account should be remitted electronically to COLTAF by the financial institution on a monthly basis. A Remittance Report should also be transmitted electronically with each remittance, showing, as to each COLTAF account, the name of the lawyer or law firm on whose account the remittance is made; the account number; the remittance period; the rate or rates of interest or dividends applied; the account balance or balances on which the interest or dividends are calculated; the amount of interest or dividends paid; the amount and type of fees, if any, deducted; and the amount of net earnings remitted.