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Guidance on Packaging and Depositing Currency Contaminated by Hurricane Harvey

September 7, 2017

To: Depository Institutions (DIs) Serviced by the Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and its San Antonio Cash Depot, and their armored carriers

If you have currency that has been contaminated by flood waters resulting from Hurricane Harvey, you are encouraged to deposit that currency with the Federal Reserve at your earliest convenience.

The Federal Reserve’s Operating Circular 2 includes specific procedures related to preparing contaminated currency deposits. Detailed information, including required advance notification to the depositing office and an instructional video on how to package contaminated currency, is available on the FRBservices.org website under Contaminated Currency and Coin. Deposits should be made using these contaminated currency guidelines to the extent possible. We encourage DIs to convey this information as appropriate to your customers to facilitate the expedient, safe acceptance of flood-damaged currency deposits.

If currency is in such poor condition that all Operating Circular 2 requirements cannot be followed, the deposit should meet as many of the Operating Circular 2 requirements as possible and then follow these procedures:

Advance Notification

  • The DI must submit advance written notification that includes the following (a 24 hour advance notice is not required, but preferred):
    • Completed FedCash Services Contaminated Currency Form. At the top of page two, the DI must indicate Hurricane Harvey in the “Other (not listed) – Identify contaminant type” field.
    • Method of verification of denomination(s) (e.g., last known balance, tape, screen print, or other record), number of notes, and value, listed in the “Additional Comments” section on the form.

Packaging

  • The words “Contaminated – Hurricane Harvey” should be written in permanent marker and large letters on the outside of the outer currency bag, but should not inhibit the ability to clearly view the contents of the bags.
    • Contaminated currency must be double-bagged, using the bags provided by the Federal Reserve or bags of similar manufacture and transparency.
    • The bags must be large enough to permit movement of the currency inside the bag for initial visual inspection (for example, no more than 4 bundles in a 8-bundle size bag, or 8 bundles in a 16-bundle size bag).
  • The proof of verification as noted above in “method of verification” should also be included with the deposit (e.g., last known balance, tape, screen print, or other record). If the proof is insufficient or unsatisfactory, the Houston Branch Cash Services Department may reject the deposit or call the DI to better understand the verification method and/or address any other questions or concerns. If you are uncertain whether the proof you will be providing is sufficient, please seek guidance from the Houston Branch prior to shipment to avoid unnecessary delays or refusals.

You are encouraged to deposit currency contaminated by Hurricane Harvey as soon as possible.

Contaminated Currency Bags

The Federal Reserve can provide contaminated currency deposit bags to assist you with properly packaging your contaminated currency. To obtain bags, please contact the Houston Branch Cash Services Department at P: (713) 483-3634. (Please note that supplies are limited to the amount needed for deposits for this event.)

Cross-shipping Waivers

Cross-shipping fee waivers are being issued for the weeks of August 21 and 28 for the following zones and sub-zones: Houston zone, San Antonio zone, and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission subzone.

Contaminated Coin De-Contamination Procedures

As a reminder, the Federal Reserve does not accept deposits of contaminated coin. The Contaminated Currency and Coin page on FRBservices.org recommends consulting the CDC website for further information on decontaminating coin.

Service and Support

Please contact the Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas at P: (713) 483-3634 if you need assistance or additional information.

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