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FedACH® Services

Making ACH data analysis easy with the FedPayments® Reporter Service

March 2017

The FedPayments® Reporter Service offers a wide variety of reports on Automated Clearing House (ACH) activity. Some are available in human-readable formats like PDF and text, and several are available in flexible data formats like CSV and Microsoft Excel®. The variety of information available runs the gamut from depository-financial-institution (DFI)-level reports covering same-day originated batches to customer-level reports covering Social Security beneficiary payees.

We spoke with three of our customers who are finding one of the newer reports to be particularly useful. The ACH Received Entries Detail Report is available in human-readable formats as well as CSV and Excel, making it ideal for conducting a host of data analysis tasks. It carries 37 fields of ACH data, including receiver account, originator name, Standard Entry Class (SEC) code, effective entry date, dollar amount, transaction code, debit or credit indicator and originator ABA to name but a few. View a sample (XLS) of the Excel version of the report.

The ACH Received Entries Detail Report:

  • Offers versions for both receiving depository financial institutions (RDFIs) and receivers
  • Provides selected key information for received entries for the specified ABA or account numbers
  • Generates reports automatically on a scheduled daily, weekly or monthly basis with on-demand generation also available
  • Delivers reports automatically to internal users or to customers with the optional encrypted email service
  • Includes advanced setup options that allow reporting by a variety of categories on any combination of SEC codes

The report’s versatile spreadsheet formats enable analysis for:

  • Retiring an ABA
  • Reporting on International ACH Transactions (IATs)
  • Identifying large volume/dollar customers
  • Providing business customers with ACH entries detail reports
  • Creating charts and graphs
  • Combining spreadsheets over time to view trends
  • Identifying Same Day settlement entries

Obviously, we think the ACH Received Entries Detail Report is a handy analysis tool, but don’t just take our word for it – hear what our customers have to say!

 

Sort to the answer in a flash

First Farmers (Off-site Link) is one of Tennessee’s leading community banks with more than $1 billion in assets and over $4 billion under the management of the trust department. The bank has steadily grown across the region, with 20 financial service centers in Davidson, Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Marshall, Maury and Williamson counties. Through continued growth, the bank has remained focused on what matters the most – the people and communities it serves.

Fed Account Executive Jodi Moore asked First Farmers Electronic Banking Manager Aron Stosberg if he would share how he gets value from the DFI-level spreadsheet version of the ACH Received Entries Detail Report.

“I like the ACH Received Entries Detail Report because it comes in a CSV format, which is easy to open in Excel and manipulate. I use it for research, for example, on large credits coming into our Fed account. I can see who they are coming from and going to. I can sort and filter to what I want to see and can figure out what I need to know in about 15 minutes. We do get a report from our processor, but it’s not as easy to use. With the ACH Received Entries Detail Report, I can also put several days together into one spreadsheet and research over the course of several days. It’s very easy.”

Aron Stosberg
Electronic Banking Manager
First Farmers

 

Business customers like the easy-to-use format

First Bank Richmond, N.A. (Off-site Link) has been a part of Wayne County, Indiana for more than 100 years. The bank’s mission is to provide its customers with exceptional service and the tools to achieve their financial goals by offering a broad range of products and services. The FedPayments Reporter ACH Received Entries Detail Report fits in with that mission. 

The ACH Received Entries Detail Report can serve as an ACH clearing report for business customers, letting financial institutions proactively provide customers with workable information about all incoming FedACH® Services transactions.

Account Executive Tyler Smith asked First Bank’s Electronic Funds Transfer/Deposit Operations Officer Sarah McKenzie if she would talk about how she uses the spreadsheet format of the ACH Received Entries Detail Report.

“I provide receiver-level information to some of our customers. Before we started using the ACH Received Entries Detail Report, for receiver accounts, I would have to go into our document archive, export from there and then securely email or fax the information to the customers. The ACH Received Entries Detail Report is so handy. I have built our customers in the report, and the service automatically emails the report to them. I don’t have to touch it. It’s easier for me and is in a much easier-to-read format for our customers.”

Sarah McKenzie
Electronic Funds Transfer/Deposit Operations Officer
First Bank Richmond, N.A.

 

Green and flexible

Middlesex Savings Bank (Off-site Link) was founded in 1835 and is headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts. With over $4 billion in assets, it is the second largest mutually-owned savings bank in Massachusetts and the largest community bank in Central Massachusetts. The bank’s tagline is “where you’re worth more.”

Account Executive Peter Desmond reached out to Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) and the bank’s Assistant Vice President and Electronic Banking Manager Georgia Wilhelmson to learn how she uses the report.

 “The ACH Received Entries Detail Report allows me to quickly identify a customer’s ACH activity and segregate it,” Wilhelmson said. ”The report helps me see what needs to be addressed when corporate customers want to set up blocks and filters for their ACH activity. It also helps me monitor Notifications of Change (NOCs) and ensure that my originators are acting on them and not reinitiating transactions that should be deleted.”

“The FedPayments Reporter Service is green and it’s flexible. The download feature makes it unnecessary to print out reports. They can be saved directly to my electronic database. From there, I can combine the data from weekly or monthly downloads to create quarterly or annual reports.”

Georgia Wilhelmson, AAP
Assistant Vice President and Electronic Banking Manager
Middlesex Savings Bank

 

So many reports to choose from

The ACH Receive Entries Detail Report is only one of many reports available from the FedPayments Reporter Service.

Middlesex Savings Bank uses a couple of the other FedPayments Reporter Service reports as well. “The FedPayments Reporter Service provides password-secure and timely electronic reporting to our ACH originators and receivers who require Electronic Data Interchange (EDI),” Wilhelmson said. “We set the customers up, and the service does the reporting for us for a very reasonable fee. The ACH Routing Number Activity Report gives us a monthly and year-to-date snapshot of our bank’s originated and received ACH activity passing through the Federal Reserve System.”

First Bank appreciates the FedPayments Reporter Service’s value to its customers. “The FedPayments Reporter Service is an awesome tool. I love it,” McKenzie said. “I’m still learning about all of the benefits available and look forward to the new products the Fed is continuing to add to make our jobs easier and benefit our customers.”

 

Learn more

Take a minute to see how the FedPayments Reporter Service can help you by reading report descriptions (PDF) and viewing sample reports (PDF). The FedPayments Reporter Service reports, among other tools, are important components of the Risk Management Toolbox and the Business Banking Toolbox. Ask that we contact you (Off-site Link) or reach out to your account executive today.

 

“Excel” is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

The Federal Reserve Banks do not sponsor or endorse any of the non-Federal Reserve Bank-related products, parties or entities discussed in this publication.

 

Risk Management

Help strengthen your organization's physical security

March 2017

Attackers who can gain physical access to a device or network can be just as dangerous as ones who attack online. Logical security can help safeguard software with measures like user identification and password access, while physical security can help prevent unauthorized access to buildings, equipment, etc. Comprehensive cybersecurity depends on the balance of both logical and physical security. Any device capable of connecting to your institution’s network has the potential to be turned into a tool used in an attack. In this article, we’ll cover some of the best practices for maintaining your organization’s physical security. We will take a closer look at logical security in a future article. You should always consult your information security team for recommendations for your specific environment.      

 

Visitor and staff access procedures

To assist your institution in preserving its physical security, be sure that you have a comprehensive security management plan in place that includes visitor management procedures. When customers or other visitors enter your building, be sure not to leave them alone in front of a terminal connected to your organization’s network. You should lock up FedLine® security tokens when not in use.

If your organization has secure data centers, then electronic access control systems should be in place at all points of entry and sensitive work areas, and any such entry should be logged.  You should regularly review access lists to ensure that only appropriate staff have access. If any employees lose their access cards or leave your organization, then their access cards should be disabled immediately.

 

Secure your data centers

Your organization should maintain physical intrusion detection systems for all entry points to buildings, sensitive work areas and secure computing facilities where sensitive systems reside. These systems should have backup or emergency power sources in the event of a power disruption. Alarms should alert local security staff and local police of any unauthorized access attempts. 

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) should also be present at all points of entry for secure computing centers and sensitive work areas.  Your organization should keep recordings and should maintain copies of footage to prevent data loss if a power disruption occurs.

Any physical access control and CCTV systems that your organization uses should operate on networks that are entirely separate from your personal computers (PCs). Maintaining these systems and devices on the same network increases the attack surface for all of them. For example, if attackers gain access to an unprotected PC and this PC is on the same network as your CCTV system, then they could render your CCTV system inoperable in addition to any other damage they cause. 

 

Internet of Things

A sometimes overlooked aspect of physical security is the threat posed by Internet of Things (IoT) devices. An IoT device is any non-traditional computing device or object capable of obtaining an Internet Protocol (IP) address. Such capability make these items “connected” devices that can communicate with other internet-enabled devices. Fitness trackers and smart home devices like heating systems that use wireless connections for remote monitoring are all part of IoT. These seemingly innocuous objects have the potential to be both physical and logical security threats. These devices could be infected without the owner’s knowledge or even come preinstalled with malware at the time of manufacture. If an employee plugs an infected fitness tracker into his work PC, the malware also has the potential to infect his organization’s network.

Because lax physical security of even your personal devices can pose dangers to your organization’s network, it is critical to remain vigilant at all times. You should work with your institution’s information security team to scan any removable media for malware before plugging them into your PC. If you use your PC to connect to a FedLine access solution, then the only removable media that you should use is the security token provided as part of your access solution.

 

Industry guidance

The topics in this article only represent a small number of the methods that attackers use and potential mitigation strategies. We encourage you to consult your institution’s information security team to learn more about these threats and the tools to counteract them. Your organization’s security policies should align with federal and industry standards including, but not limited to, guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (Off-site Link) and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) (Off-site Link)

As a reminder, Operating Circular 5 (OC 5) identifies key responsibilities for customers that access our services via the suite of FedLine access solutions, including, but not limited to, ensuring electronic connections and access control features are appropriately restricted to authorized staff. In accordance with OC 5, FedLine customers are responsible for establishing, instituting and enforcing policies and procedures for controlling, detecting and preventing unauthorized physical and network access to all applicable FedLine access control features. 

 

Plan ahead

Remember to think preemptively. One of the keys to incident response and recovery from a security event or data breach is having a security management or incident response plan set in place.

If you suspect that any applicable FedLine access control feature, component or system is missing, has been compromised or shows evidence of tampering, you are responsible for immediately contacting the Federal Reserve. If you need to report an incident, please contact the Customer Contact Center.

 

General

Fed Facts: How the 12 Reserve Banks work together

March 2017

In last month’s Fed Facts article, we looked at key data points from various business lines across the Federal Reserve Banks. The numbers are all related, but did you know that they tie back to 12 different Reserve Banks?

When the Federal Reserve System was established in 1913, the central bank was divided into 12 geographic Districts (as shown in the map below). Beacuse District boundaries were initially based on economic and banking considerations, they don’t always coincide with state lines.

Federal Reserve System Map

Accessible version (Off-site Link)

Since its inception, the Federal Reserve System has always had a decentralized structure, meaning each Reserve Bank operates independently but with supervision from the Board of Governors. As the national economy has grown in complexity, coordination within the System increased.

Following the Great Depression, Congress passed the Banking Act of 1935, which established the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) as the System’s monetary policymaking body. The committee is made up of seven governors, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and four rotating slots shared by the 11 remaining Federal Reserve District presidents. The Reserve Bank presidents who are nonvoting members (i.e. off-rotation) still attend all the meetings and offer policy input. In 1980, the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (Monetary Control Act) brought about even more coordination among Reserve Banks with respect to the pricing of financial services offered to depository institutions.

Over time, many Reserve Banks centralized or consolidated their financial services and support functions. As a result, Reserve Banks have become more efficient through intra-System service agreements that allocate responsibilities for services and functions that are national in scope to specific Reserve Banks.

The Federal Reserve Banks offer financial services to all U.S. financial institutions, regardless of location or size. Services include:

  • The suite of FedLine® access solutions provides financial institutions with direct access to Federal Reserve Financial Services information and critical payment services.
  • The Account Services suite of services enables financial institutions to better manage their Federal Reserve accounts.
  • The Check Services suite includes electronic and paper check services to support check-processing needs.
  • The FedACH® Services product suite provides financial institutions with efficient, low-cost batched payment services that enable an electronic exchange of debit and credit transactions through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network.
  • The FedCash® Services product suite helps ensure depository institutions have sufficient supplies of currency and coin to meet public demand.
  • The FedTransaction Analyzer® tool enables financial institutions to streamline after-the-fact analysis of Fedwire® payment transactions and provides access to a historical transaction database to help automate manual reporting processes.
  • Fedwire Services are the premier electronic payments and securities transfer services that financial institutions, businesses and government agencies rely on for mission-critical, same-day transactions.
  • The National Settlement Service enables depository institutions to submit settlement files on behalf of participants in clearinghouses, financial exchanges and other clearing and settlement groups.
  • Through Treasury Services, the Federal Reserve serves as fiscal and depository agent for the U.S. government. In this role, the Reserve Banks perform a variety of services for the Treasury Department, other federal agencies and government-sponsored enterprises.

In addition to serving as the U.S. central bank, you can learn how the Federal Reserve plays a role in the collection of taxes in the April Fed Facts article.

 

SOURCE: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System website (Off-site Link)

 

Events and Education

We're social ... are you?

March 2017

Keeping in touch has never been more important. Technology is always changing, news is always breaking and those who don’t have the latest information can get lost. Staying up to speed with the Fed, the financial services industry and your colleagues is not just about checking your email or watching the news — it’s also about engagement and being social. 

Federal Reserve Bank Services has been out in the Twittersphere for over a year now, and we’ve had great success engaging with our audience and sharing content. We currently have around 500 followers, and we’re always looking to grow! Whether you’re at home or on the go, take a second to follow @FRBservices (Off-site Link) and watch your timeline for content like:

  • Links to the latest issues of FedFocus and FedFlash®
  • Information on upcoming webinars
  • New currency and coin information
  • Product and service updates

Besides Twitter, there are countless ways to engage with the Fed. Let’s take a look at three of them:

  1. You can see what events the Federal Reserve Banks will be attending on our Industry Events page. Our experts are always up for a discussion on the latest hot topics and Fed services. Sometimes getting out of the office and attending a conference can really inspire and encourage you.
  2. Be sure to stay in the know with subscriptions to FedFocus and FedFlash. You’ll receive emails right in your inbox with links to the publications as soon as they are published.
  3. Check out the FRBservices.org homepage, which features our Latest News section front and center. You’ll also find a Latest News section at the top of each of our service offering pages that are listed in the tan horizontal navigation bar.

Be sure to stay at the forefront of it all with the Federal Reserve Banks — and let’s get social!

 

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FedFocus is your source for the latest Federal Reserve Bank Services news. Each issue keeps you informed about hot topics in the industry, as well as provides insight into the value of Federal Reserve Financial Services.