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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Public Welfare Investments Redefined, Cap Raised

One of the significant changes in the Financial Services Regulatory Relief (FSRR) Act of 2006 was to the authority that banks have to make public welfare investments. The act raised the cap on the maximum aggregate public welfare investments that state member and national banks can make, from 10 percent to 15 percent of the bank's unimpaired capital and surplus.

FSRR also redefines a permissible "public welfare" investment as one that primarily benefits low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities or families. State member and national banks had been permitted to make investments that primarily promote the public welfare, with LMI-focused investments included as the principal example of a permissible investment. For more information, see

Directo a México Sends Money to Mexico

Banks can help customers send funds from the United States to Mexico for less than $5 per transaction with Directo a México (Direct to Mexico), a product introduced by Federal Reserve banks and Banco de México, the central bank of Mexico.

FedACH International Mexico Service, the service that supports Directo a México, is priced so that banks can offer it at competitive rates. ACH is a low-cost payments channel and is already in place in almost every financial institution in the United States. For this reason, there are no setup costs for most banks.

Financial institutions can receive a Directo a México tool kit that includes Spanish-language promotional materials. More information on Directo a México is available at