WASHINGTON — American Express Co. and its travel arm will become the latest converts to the bank holding company charter, the Federal Reserve Board said late Monday.

In approving the applications of Amex and American Express Travel Related Services Co. Inc. to become bank holding companies, the companies will enjoy access to a range of liquidity facilities in exchange for tougher oversight from the Fed. The approval should also ease access for Amex to funds from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

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