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Fed360

Minimal Federal Reserve Financial Services fee changes expected in January 2021

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System announced its intent to keep the majority of Federal Reserve Financial Services fees essentially flat in 2021. This approach recognizes the challenges created by COVID-19 and the difficulty financial institutions face in projecting 2021 volumes and expenses. We hope that keeping pricing changes minimal will provide relief for our customers during uncertain times.

In addition to fees set by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Reserve Banks also collect securities fees set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. These fees have not yet been determined for 2021. We will publish final 2021 Federal Reserve Financial Services fees on the Service Fees page later this year.

Fed360

Federal Reserve launches FedNowSM ISO® 20022 Working Group

During the FedNow Community kickoff webinar on June 24, the Federal Reserve announced that it will establish a series of working groups to support the development of the FedNow Service. The FedNow ISO 20022 Working Group will be the first of the series to kick off this July and will obtain feedback from a diverse group of industry stakeholders to inform and refine the FedNow ISO 20022 message specifications. The final specifications, which define the set of data fields that participants in the service will need to support, are targeted for final publication no later than first quarter 2021.

The ISO 20022 standard and our progress to date

ISO 20022 is an internationally accepted messaging format that payment systems are increasingly adopting around the world. The FedNow Service is committed to being fully ISO 20022-compliant, which is expected to yield operational benefits for participants by facilitating rich data exchanges, enabling efficient straight-through processing and facilitating interoperability with other payment systems. Additionally, the message standard is expected to be cost-efficient for participants to adopt and maintain, especially if they are members of other payment systems using the standard.

FedNow development, including work related to the message format, remains on track. The FedNow team has developed draft message flows and specifications for release 1, which are based on internationally accepted best practices, a review of other payment systems’ specifications and significant internal analysis. The Federal Reserve recognizes the critical importance of sharing ISO specifications as soon as possible to support industry adoption and development.

Objective of FedNow ISO 20022 Working Group

The objective of the FedNow ISO 20022 Working Group is to review the draft FedNow ISO 20022 specifications to validate the payment message data fields for both value and non-value messages and to confirm that the messages contain the information necessary to support financial institution processes. Based on input from the working group, the FedNow team will consider and adopt revisions, with the goal of publishing the first version of the ISO specifications for messages to be supported at launch no later than first quarter 2021.

The Federal Reserve will engage with a diverse group of stakeholders to finalize a set of specifications that will benefit participants of all sizes and profiles. The working group is composed of representatives with significant payments expertise from institutions including:

  • Small and mid-sized financial institutions
  • Large financial institutions, including participants in The Clearing House’s RTP® network
  • Processors
  • Aggregators
  • Software providers that will be critical in connecting FedNow participants of all sizes

While the near-term focus of the working group will be the “release 1” specifications for the FedNow system, the Federal Reserve will continue to engage with the working group to ensure that any future changes and modifications continue to align with the needs and expectations of the industry.

Stay informed

The Federal Reserve will keep the broader FedNow Community apprised of progress on ISO work, and we will seek to provide the opportunity for interested institutions to see a draft of the refined ISO specifications late in 2020 to solicit additional feedback. The FedNow Community is open to individuals who are interested in committing time and expertise to contribute to the success of the FedNow Service. Interested individuals should submit the FedNow Community participant profile form, detailing relevant experience, expertise and their organization’s role in instant payments. Over the course of developing the FedNow Service, the Federal Reserve will call upon the broader community, either the entire membership or specific members with needed expertise, to provide insights via focus groups, working groups, conference calls, virtual meetings, surveys and other channels.

Look out for further communications in third quarter 2020 regarding the progress of the FedNow ISO 20022 Working Group.

Notes

“ISO” is a registered service mark of the International Organization for Standardization.

“RTP” is a registered trademark of The Clearing House Payments Company LLC.

Fed360

Five easy steps to resolve an ACH exception case

You can streamline the exception resolution process in five easy steps with the FedACH® Exception Resolution Service. Launched in 2019, the service provides a simple and secure option for handling Automated Clearing House (ACH) exceptions (disputes, notifications, questions or requests for additional information) through your FedLine Web® or FedLine Advantage® Solution. Financial institutions that are subscribed to the service can work directly with other FedACH customers subscribed to the service to resolve ACH exceptions. See how it works below.

ERS Infographic

Learn more

The Exception Resolution Service provides:

  • The ability for you to open, receive, read, respond to, close or cancel exception cases for ACH transactions settled via FedACH Services within two years from the entry date and to include supporting documentation
  • Functionality to search a two-year historical repository of ACH entries to populate exception cases with ACH entry details
  • A mechanism for the secure exchange of sensitive exception case information between financial institutions
  • A 13-month archive to access and view all cases sent or received by your institution

Learn more about the benefits by viewing the Exception Resolution Service product sheet (PDF) or contacting your account executive directly.

Fed360

Reduce risk with advanced notice check reporting

In these difficult times surrounding COVID-19 and its evolving impact on workplaces, it is imperative to receive information as quickly as possible to help mitigate fraud risk. Advanced return reporting can help your institution mitigate the impact of check return items. Advanced payor reporting enables your institution and its customers to review details of presentment items for fraudulent activity and enable timely returns. Whether working remotely or on site, access to timely reporting can help your institution and your customers remain agile and reduce fraud risk, especially in contingency scenarios where access to critical applications may be impacted.

Federal Reserve Financial Services offers advanced check reporting options to meet these needs, either as cost-effective new functionality or as an option to supplement current capabilities. With advanced notice reporting options through the FedPayments® Reporter Service for Check Services, your institution will gain early access to information for checks processed by the Federal Reserve Banks. Subscribed reports are securely delivered to internal staff and/or external customers.

Reduce risk of loss with Check Advanced Notice Return Report

The Check Advanced Notice Return Report provides the Bank of First Deposit (BOFD) with advanced notice of the return items that the institution will be receiving in its electronic return cash letter from the Federal Reserve Banks. This report enables the BOFD to assess the impact of a check return item earlier in the business day.

Get early access to presentment items with Check Advanced Notice Payor Report

The Check Advanced Notice Payor Report provides the paying institution with advanced notice of the inclearing items that the institution will be receiving in its electronic forward cash letter sent by the Federal Reserve Banks. This report enables the paying institution to have access to more timely notice of inclearing items to be able to address the impact of select items to any of its account holders, including corporate customers and consumers. Additionally, being able to provide timely notice of all check presentment items directly to corporate account holders can assist with controlled disbursement and reverse positive pay needs.

More information

For more information on the reporting options available and how to sign up, please visit the FedPayments Reporter Service for Check Services page or contact FedACH® and Check Services Customer Support.

Fed360

Check Services to hold freeze period August 15-16

The Federal Reserve Banks’ Check Services will be unavailable between 3 a.m. ET on Saturday, August 15 and 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 16. The freeze period is necessary to conduct a Systemwide contingency test.

During the test, check files will not be processed and deposit notifications will not be generated. Check files normally deposited during this period will need to be held and processed after the test is completed, which is expected to be after 2 p.m. ET on August 16.

Please contact FedACH® and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 with questions regarding this test.

Fed360

The Ops Stop: Get the support you need with the Contact page

The Ops Stop provides your organization with a one-stop shop full of helpful operational resources offered by the Federal Reserve Banks. For this installment of the series, we are featuring the Contact page, which can help you find the right contact information for your situation.

It can be difficult to decide who to contact when you have specific questions, concerns or requests. That’s why, with our Contact page, we’ve made it simple to access Federal Reserve Bank Services support across the entire Federal Reserve System. This centralized directory is designed to serve as a one-stop shop for your questions about who to contact and how.

One of the most useful tools on this page is Find Your Contacts, which creates a directory customized to your ABA. Through this tool, you can generate a customized list of Federal Reserve Bank Services support contacts, including your account executive. To use Find Your Contacts:

  1. Navigate to the “Search by ABA” box at the top of the page under “Find Your Contacts”
  2. Enter your organization’s nine-digit ABA number within the search bar
  3. Click “GO!”

You will then be taken to a new page displaying your organization’s customized directory.

Furthermore, the Contact page features an easy-to-use left navigation that helps you quickly locate contacts by service area. This includes contacts for:

Within each service area is a list of specialized contacts who can help address your specific situation. You’ll also find links to resources such as the Fast Facts poster (PDF), which can help you quickly identify who to call for answers to frequently asked questions related to FedCash Services and FedLine Solutions.

Finally, if you have questions about the FRBservices.org® website itself or suggestions for improving it, the Contact page makes it easy to send an email to our webmaster or complete our online feedback form (Off-site). Your feedback is important to us, allowing us to better understand our customers’ experiences with the website and modify it accordingly.

Fed360

Advance your FEDucation virtually with our latest webinars and industry events

Looking to build your skills or learn more about the services we offer? Due to COVID-19, many conferences and in-person events have been canceled, but luckily, you can still continue your FEDucation on a virtual basis. Register for an on-demand webinar or mark your calendar for one of our virtual industry events today!

Webinars

The Federal Reserve Banks host webinars on a variety of subjects and services each year. The following webinars, which can also be found on our Webinars page, are completely free and viewable on-demand:

Working directly with the Fed web series

This series offers a broad overview of how to work with Federal Reserve Financial Services.

Check Services and FedTransaction Analyzer® webinars

These series focus on the inner workings of the FedTransaction Analyzer tool and the Federal Reserve’s Check Services.

In addition to the free webinars above, we also offer fee-based Check Adjustments webinars. To read descriptions, see dates offered and register for these webcasts, visit the Check Adjustments section of the Webinars page.

Industry events

The Federal Reserve Banks also participate in a variety of industry meetings and conferences throughout the year. On our Industry Events page, we list specific events coming up in 2020 in which we will have a representative, exhibit and/or speaker(s). As many in the country have been doing in 2020, Fed representatives have been attending many virtual events and conferences to connect to customers and industry stakeholders.

Below is a listing of industry events we plan to attend in the next 30 days. Simply click on the event title for more information, including the presenters.

2020 Events Date Location
Community Bankers Association of Ohio (CBAO) Annual Convention (Off-site) August 4-6 Virtual
Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota Convention (Off-site) August 6-8 Virtual
Symitar Educational Conference (SEC) and TechConnect (Off-site) August 31-September 3 Virtual

The Federal Reserve Banks are closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) (Off-site) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (Off-site) to stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. We will work to keep the Industry Events page updated according to COVID-related changes or cancellations and add additional conference participation as information becomes available. Please visit the COVID-19 page to stay up to date on guidance as it relates to financial services.

Note

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.