39 CFR § 233.5 - Requesting financial records from a financial institution.

§ 233.5 Requesting financial records from a financial institution.

(a) Definitions. The terms used in this section have the same meaning as similar terms used in the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978, Title XI of Pub. L. 95–630. Act means the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978.

(b) Purpose. The purpose of these regulations is: (1) To authorize the Inspection Service Department of the U.S. Postal Service to request financial records from a financial institution pursuant to the formal written request procedure authorized by section 1108 of the Act and (2) to set forth the conditions under which such request may be made.

(c) Authorization. The Inspection Service Department is authorized to request financial records of any customer from a financial institution pursuant to a formal written request under the Act only if:

(1) No administrative summons or subpoena authority reasonably appears to be available to the Inspection Service Department to obtain financial records for the purpose for which the records are sought;

(2) There is reason to believe that the records sought are relevant to a legitimate law enforcement inquiry and will further that inquiry;

(3) The request is issued by a supervisory official of a rank designated by the Chief Postal Inspector. Officials so designated shall not delegate this authority to others;

(4) The request adheres to the requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section; and

(5) The notice requirements set forth in section 1108(4) of the Act, or the requirements pertaining to the delay of notice in section 1109 of the Act, are satisfied, except in situations (e.g., section 1113(g)) where no notice is required.

(d) Written request.

(1) The formal request must be in the form of a letter or memorandum to an appropriate official of the financial institution and must contain:

(i) The signature of the issuing official and the official's name, title, business address, and business phone number;

(ii) The identity of the customer or customers to whom the records pertain;

(iii) A reasonable description of the records sought; and

(iv) Any additional information which may be appropriate—e.g., the date when the opportunity for the customer to challenge the formal written request expires, the date when the Inspection Service Department expects to present a certificate of compliance with the applicable provisions of the Act, the name and title of the individual (if known) to whom disclosure is to be made.

(2) In cases where customer notice is delayed by court order, a copy of the court order must be attached to the formal written request.

(e) Certification. Before obtaining the requested records following a formal written request, a supervisory official authorized to issue a request must certify in writing to the financial institution that the Inspection Service Department has complied with the applicable provisions of the Act.

[44 FR 39161, July 5, 1979. Redesignated at 46 FR 34330, July 1, 1981]