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Yes, it is legal. Regulation CC governs a bank's responsibility to credit ones account. The regulation sets a maximum waiting time to give credit. For electronic transfers the money must be made available by midnight of the day received. Thus the money will be available to you the next business day from the date of receipt.
A bank may chose to make the money available at an earlier time as the regulation sets the outer time limit.
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How do you know they are recieving the money at least two days before the first?
What service is he retired from?
He is retired from the Navy.
For years we had our direct deposit with the Navy Credit Union. A friend who worked there confirmed that our deposits always went in early because they were required to post them on the day they were received. So, after dealing with a couple of civilian banks, where checks also went in early, I had assumed that this would be the case. However, after dealing with Key Bank, I contacted the Defense Finance Office to inquire as to the current policy, and was told that this is still the case for all government checks.