Deposit a Check Written to the Troop?

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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ckmcdonald
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Deposit a Check Written to the Troop?

Postby ckmcdonald » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:08 pm

Is it possible to set up in some way a wards account such that we can deposit checks written to "Boy Scout Troop ###" ?

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:31 pm

Church units are authorized only one bank account. In the U.S. that account is a bank concentration account. See the finance section in Handbook 1. There is also a June 2011 MLS message regarding checks made out to the BSA or to a specific troop. See this thread.
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ckmcdonald
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Postby ckmcdonald » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:18 pm

I'm very aware of the one-account-per-unit policy - it's this very policy that's generating my question. There is a very legitimate need for a ward to be able to deposit a check written to the unit's Boy Scout troop into the Other category of the one allowed account for the ward. This would solve a number of problem situations.

I'm not talking about a check written to the BSA. A check written to the BSA is radically different than a check written to Boy Scout Troop <your troop number>. I'm referring to a check written to the latter.

If someone writes a check to me and someone else writes a check to my wife, we can deposit them both into our single checking account. Likewise with my business partner and our shared bank account.

What I'm asking is, can our one account for the ward be set up to allow the depositing of checks written to our units Scout troop. If there is, I'd like to do that. If not, I guess I'd like to ask if anyone can think of a reason why this shouldn't be allowed. It sure seems like an easy way to solve a few sticky problems with Scout funding.

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Postby jdlessley » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:08 pm

ckmcdonald wrote:I'm not talking about a check written to the BSA. A check written to the BSA is radically different than a check written to Boy Scout Troop <your troop number>. I'm referring to a check written to the latter.
If you read the MLS message more closely you will see that it addresses checks written to the BSA as well as checks written to a specific troop. Any troop, even a troop sponsored by a Church unit, is separate entity from the Church. The bank receiving Church unit bank concentration deposits can accept checks written only to the Church or the ward/branch.

ckmcdonald wrote:If someone writes a check to me and someone else writes a check to my wife, we can deposit them both into our single checking account. Likewise with my business partner and our shared bank account.
These situations involve legal or contractual relationships in a joint account with a banking entity. There is no such relationship between the BSA and the Church or a troop and the Church. They are separate unrelated entities.

ckmcdonald wrote:What I'm asking is, can our one account for the ward be set up to allow the depositing of checks written to our units Scout troop.
In the U.S., Church units do not own the bank account. It is a deposit concentration account used to aggregate funds into an account owned by the Church. As such only deposits for the Church can be made and Church units are merely authorized depositors. Since checks written to the BSA or a specific troop are not made out to the Church or designated Church units, the bank cannot accept the deposit.
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ckmcdonald
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Postby ckmcdonald » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:03 am

jdlessley wrote:The bank receiving Church unit bank concentration deposits can accept checks written only to the Church or the ward/branch.


I believe this to be true - although I was hoping that someone would say there is a way to set it up such that the troop name could be added to the account so that checks written to the ward's troop could also be deposited.

jdlessley wrote:These situations involve legal or contractual relationships in a joint account with a banking entity. There is no such relationship between the BSA and the Church or a troop and the Church. They are separate unrelated entities.


In the case of my business partner, there are no contractual or marital relationships - we simply have our two names on one shared account. They are personal names but they could have easily been corporate, LLC or trust names, or a mixture. All I'm saying is I would find it hard to believe that the Church, if it wanted to, couldn't add the ward's troop name as a valid depositor to the account. There might be issues related with this that my simple mind can't comprehend, but at face value this seems like an easy solution for several frustrating situations troop leaders are having.

Also, stating that the troop and ward are completely separate and unrelated entities is not completely accurate when considering the financial side. If someone wants to push funds from the once-a-year fundraiser into the troop, how is that done? Only by writing a check to the Church. Ignoring the fundraiser, how is the troop funded? Completely by the Church. In fact, from a financial point of view it's hard to separate the two and call them separate and unrelated entities.

jdlessley wrote:In the U.S., Church units do not own the bank account. It is a deposit concentration account used to aggregate funds into an account owned by the Church. As such only deposits for the Church can be made and Church units are merely authorized depositors. Since checks written to the BSA or a specific troop are not made out to the Church or designated Church units, the bank cannot accept the deposit.


Again, I find it hard to believe the Church couldn't add the troop name to the account - allowing for checks written to the troop to be deposited into the proper Other account. I was hoping (but not really expecting) to hear that this was already done or could be set up easily just by asking. That would have made my day - as well as the troop leaders in our ward who are driving me from the other side. I'll also admit that although I realize that this forum isn't formally monitored by the Church Financial Department, I started this thread in hopes it would seed a movement toward such a solution if indeed it is realistic.

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Postby allenjpl » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:26 am

jdlessley wrote:These situations involve legal or contractual relationships in a joint account with a banking entity. There is no such relationship between the BSA and the Church or a troop and the Church. They are separate unrelated entities.


Actually, that is not entirely correct. Every year, the ward signs a contract with the local BSA Council which permits the ward to use the BSA program materials in connection with the ward's troop. The ward charters a troop with the BSA. The troop does not exist outside of this relationship with its chartered organization. The troop belongs to the ward. All of the troop's equipment is the ward's. It is true that the BSA council and the troop are unrelated entities. It is not true that the ward and troop are unrelated organizations.

Now, without getting too much into tax policy, which (1) it's too early for me to think about, and (2) is prohibited by the forum, there are certain tax implications of taking on the task of funding a troop, including considerations of whether the troop's fundraising is incidental to the church's purpose. In my opinion, the Church has decided to avoid these implications altogether by funding everything from the ward's budget. In doing so, they didn't eliminate the ties between the ward and the troop. The troop is still owned by the ward. All assets, financial or otherwise, belong to the ward, not the council. But the Church has chosen to avoid problems with a "Troop account" by mandating that the ward have only the single account. As a result, there is nowhere for checks made out to Troop 1820 to be deposited that has the name of Troop 1820.

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Postby mhackwell » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:18 am

We receive checks made out to the following on a regular basis:
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
-LDS Church
-Troop ###
-Bishop XXXXXX

We have processed and deposited them into our account with no problem for 30+ years.

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Postby wrigjef » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:36 pm

mhackwell wrote:We receive checks made out to the following on a regular basis:
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
-LDS Church
-Troop ###
-Bishop XXXXXX

We have processed and deposited them into our account with no problem for 30+ years.


If this were to happen in my unit I'd process deposits for the first two just fine, but I'd be retuurning checks for the last two and teaching members the correct way. I really don't like to contribute to mistakes by ignoring them. Sure you might be able to slip this by a bank that is nice and looks the other way at simple discrepency like this, but I am fairly certain direction from our called and set apart leaders in Salt Lake would be that this should not happen.

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Postby jdlessley » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:30 pm

It is apparent from the comments following mine in post # 4 that I was not clear in stating that my comments are in regard to banking and holding bank accounts. In this regard to banking and bank accounts there is no relationship between the BSA and the Church and no relationship between a specific troop and the Church. It is the chartering organization of a troop that determines the financial relationship with the troop. The Church has chosen not to allow financing of a troop in the traditional manner nor to allow bank accounts to be created. This is what I meant in my second paragraph when I said "There is no such relationship between the BSA and the Church or a troop and the Church. They are separate unrelated entities." An LDS troop cannot create a bank account simply because the Church does not permit it. Therefore there is no banking relationship between the troop and the Church.

ckmcdonald wrote:In the case of my business partner, there are no contractual or marital relationships - we simply have our two names on one shared account.
The contract is with the bank. When the account is opened a contract is created in which the parties who will have access to the account are identified.

The type of bank account for the business partners and married couples are checking accounts (and possibly savings accounts) and the many variations thereof. The type of bank account a ward or branch deposits funds into is a deposit concentration account. It is different from a checking account. A deposit concentration account is an account used to aggregate funds from several locations into one centralized account. Funds deposited into a concentration account do not remain there. They are transferred to the centralized account quite quickly. No funds can be withdrawn by authorized depositors. There is no ownership of the account by the authorized depositors.

The Church's bank, Zion National Bank, has such accounts and agreements with other banking institutions to aggregate Church unit deposits. Checks deposited to a concentration account should only be written to the owner of the centralized account or to authorized depositors of the concentration account. You can go to your local bank or branch office where deposits are made and see the letter of agreement for the concentration account.

ckmcdonald wrote:Again, I find it hard to believe the Church couldn't add the troop name to the account ...
The troop is not a unit of the Church like stakes/districts and wards/branches are. Troops are sponsored by the Church and chartered through the BSA. The account only has the Church as a name on the account. Wards and branches are provided as authorized depositors. I doubt that it is a simple matter of adding a troop as an authorized depositor since they would not be making any deposits. All donations are processed by the ward/branch. No funds are processed by the troop. Therefore they are not and cannot be an authorized depositor.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:35 pm

mhackwell wrote:We receive checks made out to the following on a regular basis:
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
-LDS Church
-Troop ###
-Bishop XXXXXX

We have processed and deposited them into our account with no problem for 30+ years.
But do we not follow guidance from the Church that asks us not to engage in such practices? The June 2011 MLS message specifically stated:
Only checks made out to the ward or branch name (or Church name) will be accepted at the deposit bank.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?


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