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Criminal Resource Manual

402. Financial Institutions Covered

Institutions not covered by the Act include bonding companies, credit bureaus, brokerage houses, government lending agencies, small business investment companies, the U.S. Postal Service, and Western Union.

The definition of "financial institution", at 12 U.S.C. § 3401(l), focuses on "offices" of institutions located in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. The Act does not reach records maintained in foreign offices of American Financial institutions or foreign banks. See United States v. Mann, 829 F. 2d 849, 851 (9th Cir. 1987) (A case dealing with financial records in a Cayman Island bank).

A note on "credit card issuers": Although "credit card issuers" are covered by the Act, businesses which issue credit cards to facilitate sales, such as oil companies or large department stores, are considered "financial institutions" only with respect to records related to credit card use. Records of cash sales or credit sales are not covered, as the business is not a card issuer with respect to such transactions. Additionally, the term "card issuer" as used in the Act is defined by reference to 15 U.S.C. §  1602(n). Because that chapter of the United States Code is restricted to consumer credit cards, issuers of cards used for commercial, governmental, securities and other transactions excepted by 15 U.S.C. § 1603 are not covered by the Act.