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Saturday, July 1, 2006

Identify Fraudulent Postal Money Orders

The growing number of fraudulent money orders caused the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to create an interactive voice response system. Financial institutions can verify money orders issued at least two days earlier but not more than 90 days before by calling 1-866-459-7822.

You will need to provide the following information to verify the authenticity of USPS money orders:

  • Money order serial number (11 digits)
  • Money order dollar amount (one to six digits)
  • Money order post office ID (six digits)

The system will either verify that the money order was issued by the USPS in the dollar amount entered or respond that the money order does not match the USPS database.

For more information, call 1-800-ASK-USPS or visit for more details on money order security features.

Small Bank Holding Companies Defined

The Federal Reserve announced Feb. 28 the approval of a final rule that expands the definition of a small-bank holding company (BHC). The changes include:

  • raising the small-asset size threshold from $150 million to $500 million in consolidated assets, and
  • amending the related qualitative criteria for determining eligibility as a small BHC for the purposes of the Policy Statement and capital guidelines.

The amendments, under the Board's Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement and the Board's risk-based and leverage capital guidelines for BHCs, are designed to address the effects of inflation, industry consolidation and normal asset growth since the Policy Statement was introduced in 1980. The final rule was effective March 31.

For additional information, please contact Rebecca Roberts at 1-800-333-0810, ext. 44-8744.

New Members Take Seats at Board of Governors

Two vacancies were filled on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors during late winter.

Kevin M. Warsh of New York was sworn in Feb. 24. He is completing the term ending Jan. 31, 2018 of Ben Bernanke, now Fed Chairman. Warsh most recently served as special assistant to the president for economic policy, managing domestic finance, capital markets and banking issues. He also served as executive secretary for the National Economic Council and worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley.

Randall S. Kroszner, a professor of economics from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago, was sworn in March 1. He is completing the 14-year term ending Jan. 31, 2008, of Edward M. Gramlich, who retired last August. Kroszner has been involved with the Fed and Board of Governors in several capacities, including serving as a visiting scholar and research consultant.