The function of a financial institution is made up of many moving parts, and at any given moment one single component can breakdown and cause trouble not only for the financial institution, but also its customers. Take, for example, the possibility of a service disruption. For BMO Harris Payment Manager, Pierre-Etienne Pagé and Wintrust Wire Management Vice President, Daniel Campos, this scenario became all too real.
In October 2018, Pagé’s team at BMO Harris (Off-site) experienced a major disruption that greatly impacted his team’s productivity and added hours to their workday. Pagé recalls using the Fedwire® Offline Services as a limited contingency tool. “We originally used a [codewords] feature to step in during these moments,” he said, noting that the overall process was not as efficient as the team preferred in a high stress moment. The team spent precious time searching for codewords, while being limited to only a marginal amount of wires per hour despite having to process thousands that day.
Pagé and his team realized their wires outpaced their current contingency process and that it was time to find alternative plans in case this scenario should happen again. The team looked to their sister department that had been using the file import/export feature within the FedPayments Manager — Funds application with their FedLine Advantage® connection. The import/export feature is an easier and more streamlined process to follow during an outage.
With this experience behind them, they were able to make a case to management to implement the import/export feature in FedPayments Manager, to be better prepared should this type of disruption arise in the future. In hindsight, Pagé wishes it had not taken a major disruption to realize if they had implemented the feature earlier it would have saved time and money instead of trying to navigate a disruption with limited resources.
Daniel Campos and his Wintrust (Off-site) team can certainly relate after having experienced a four-day disruption that threw a wrench in their operations. Not long after the disruption, Campos was telling the story of that day to his Federal Reserve Bank account executive, Pavel Reytikh, who suggested the FedPayments Manager import/export feature, along with regular testing, could help them to be better prepared for a future crisis.
The file import/export feature in FedPayments Manager is designed to position Fedwire Funds participants to have a connection to send or receive messages should it experience an issue affecting their ability to send or receive messages using their primary electronic connections.
The Federal Reserve Banks recognize that widely available and reliable testing is an essential component of the Fedwire Services. The Fedwire Services Hours and Testing Opportunities page provides more information regarding testing schedules and forms. Contact your local Wholesale Testing Unit for more information.
Learn from the experiences of both Pagé and Campos and prepare your institution well in advance of a disruption. Contact your account executive to discuss setting up and testing the import/export feature of FedPayments Manager — Funds.