ZIP code mess rests with list sellers, not brokerage service

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | A major brokerage service provider said it’s not contributing to the ongoing confusion of mail delivery on Shelter Island.

Not guilty.

That’s the word from Pershing LLC, previously described as a mail list company selling addresses whose data base might bear some of the responsibility for incorrectly addressed mail for some Shelter Islanders.

In fact, Pershing, a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon, performs some functions for brokerage houses, broker dealers and banks who are among its clients. But it doesn’t sell its lists to outsiders and the customers it serves have no access to those lists, according to Douglas Rozman, head of corporate communications, and Joan Schwartz, chief legal officer, for Pershing.

Pershing got pulled into the ZIP code confusion on Shelter Island after being identified by a Capital One customer as the company whose data base was slicing off the word “Heights” in mailings to Capital One Securities customers. Pershing has fixed that problem, not only for that customer, but all Shelter Island customers of brokerage houses it serves, Mr. Rozman said.

Very simply, it has found an acceptable abbreviation that assures customers whose boxes are in the Heights will receive their mail at the 11965 address, while those who use the Center Post Office will continue to get their mail sent to 11964.

Pershing’s clients, information is “proprietary,” Mr. Rozman said, explaining that no one can purchase mailing lists for use and that corporate customers Pershing serves have no access to those lists.

Pershing’s chairman, Brian Shea, a part-time Shelter Island resident, made efforts quickly to find out what was going on with the mailings it was generating for its brokerage customers, according to Ms. Schwartz. These are his neighbors and he didn’t want to contribute to their angst over mis-addressed mailings, she said. She described him as “very concerned” about the difficulties Islanders have been encountering and certainly didn’t want to play a part in causing problems.

Pershing officials were taking the effort a step further, they said, by speaking with Oliver Longwell, Congressman Tim Bishop’s communications director, to see if they could be of any service helping others to correct mailing addresses. Mr. Longwell continues to communicate with United States Postal Service officials and various mail order list companies to solve ongoing problems here with mail service, he said.

Earlier this month, the USPS advised residents maintaining post office boxes in the Heights to use the abbreviated “Shelter Is Ht, NY 11965” as their address to assure that self-correcting data bases don’t slice off “Heights” and send mail incorrectly to 11964.