Fed Begins Dirty CollectionEffort

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WASHINGTON - (09/29/05) -- NCUA said Wednesday that creditunions recovering from Hurricane Katrina, and now Hurricane Rita,ought to begin collecting the billions of dollars ofcash-equivalent items contaminated by the accompanying flooding andprepare them for exchange with the Federal Reserve. As what may bedescribed as the biggest collection ever, the Fed has setprocedures for collecting billions of dollars in cash, checks orother cash-equivalents contaminated by water, chemicals or othersubstances. The Fed defines contaminated currency as a note damagedby or exposed to a contaminant to the extent that it cannot beprocessed under normal operating procedures or may pose a health orsafety risk. For credit unions and banks in New Orleans and otherflooded Gulf Coast towns that will mean tons of coin, cash andpaper checks. Those institutions can also choose to convert theitems to electronic versions under the new Check 21 law, the Fedsaid.

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