American Express Co. and its travel arm are to become the latest converts to the bank holding company charter.

The Federal Reserve Board said late Monday that it had approved the applications of Amex and American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. for banking company charters.

The charters give such companies access to liquidity facilities in exchange for tougher oversight by the Fed.

They also should ease access to funds from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

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