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Fed360

Federal Reserve Banks announce 2021 product and fee changes

The Federal Reserve Banks are pleased to confirm that, in 2021, Federal Reserve Financial Services fees will remain flat with the exception of the monthly Check Services Participation Fee. The Board of Governors announced its intent to keep price changes minimal in a July 21 press release (Off-site). This approach recognizes the uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the difficulty in applying standard forecasting tools in this environment. We will continue to make investments in our products and services to help maintain the security and resiliency of the payment system.

An overview of 2021 product and fee changes is provided below. The impact on your institution will depend on your product mix and volume. Details on the specific changes can be found on the Service Fees page and in the 2021 pricing announcement letter.

Services with fees remaining unchanged in 2021:

*While there are no price changes planned for the Fedwire Securities Service, any changes to Online and Offline Treasury transfers fees are set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and will be announced once finalized.

Services with fee changes in 2021:

**To address the cost of maintaining our Check Services infrastructure as check volume continues to decline, the monthly Participation Fee will increase.

Questions?

If you have any questions about product and fee changes or how they may affect your institution, please contact your account executive. The Federal Reserve Board’s press release (Off-site) provides an overview of the fee changes planned for next year. All changes will be effective January 4, 2021.

We value the trust you place in us and our services and look forward to working with you in 2021.

Fed360

What role will the FedNowSM Service play in an instant payments world?

These days, people expect payments to move quickly and a number of payment networks are responding to this demand. How will the FedNow Service fit into the payments ecosystem and how will it support the development of safe, efficient and accessible instant payment services?

Similar to several existing faster payment networks, the FedNow Service will allow financial institutions to enable customers to send and receive money in seconds. Unlike many of these services, the FedNow Service will clear and settle funds between financial institutions in real time. The Clearing House’s RTP® network is currently the only instant payments service offering this capability. The FedNow Service will provide choice to the market, generating competition, promoting resiliency and fostering nationwide reach.

The FedNow Service will be an infrastructure financial institutions and the broader payment ecosystem can use as a springboard for innovation to develop instant payment use cases and services.

Note

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

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The Federal Reserve Banks are working closely with the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) to support the distribution of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). As your service provider, the Federal Reserve Banks are committed to supporting your institution through this next release of EIPs. Although we do not control EIPs, we would like to share the following EIP-related resources at this time in hopes that your institution may find them beneficial for the ongoing EIP distributions.

FedACH® Services

The Federal Reserve Banks offer multiple services to assist your institution with processing EIPs. The FedPayments® Reporter ACH Received Entries Detail Report can facilitate analysis of EIPs sent to your institution’s account holders. Additionally, the FedACH Risk® RDFI Alert Service can provide early notice of EIPs being sent to your account holders. If your institution already subscribes to these services for analysis and alerting of EIPs, you will need to adjust the criteria due to EIP specifications. We also want to remind our customers that ACH returns should follow the normal return procedures in similar situations for tax refunds to have the payment re-issued.

Ask the Fed session

A recording of the December 30, 2020, Ask the Fed® session entitled, “Federal Economic Impact Payment Round 2: Information Bankers Need to Know” is available on the Ask the Fed (Off-site) website. In this session, senior executives from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System discussed the distribution of the second round of federal EIPs to individual taxpayers, and important information regarding the distribution of cash to financial institutions.

U.S. Treasury check and EIP verification

Fiscal Service encourages financial institutions and check cashers to verify the security features (Off-site) of a U.S. Treasury check, and to determine the status of EIP checks by using either:

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Please refer to the Useful Links for Economic Impact Payment Information (Off-site) on the Fiscal Service website for a variety of EIP-related resources. Also, you are encouraged to check these websites frequently for updated information:

If you have remaining questions, please contact your Federal Reserve account executive.

FedCash® Services

Federal Reserve Cash Services departments in the 28 offices across the country are stocked with currency inventories sufficient to meet the needs of financial institutions during this second round of EIPs. We are working closely with our cash supply chain partners to understand anticipated demand for currency and support them as they make preparations to handle this additional demand.

Your continued support is needed

While Federal Reserve cash offices are prepared to meet the demand for currency orders, we ask our financial institution customers to place reasonable orders for currency that meet the demand of their customers, and not order more currency than is needed. In addition, the Federal Reserve Banks ask for your continued assistance in reassuring your customers that there will be an ample inventory of currency available to meet the needs of consumers throughout the EIP disbursement period.

We recognize the herculean efforts that all financial institutions have undertaken during this unprecedented time, and we thank you.

Action Item:

Refer to the Federal Reserve Bank Services COVID-19 Resources page regularly for up-to-date information.

Fed360

Complete the FedLine® Solutions Security and Resiliency Assurance Program by December 31, 2021

In August 2020, the Federal Reserve Banks announced the implementation of the Security and Resiliency Assurance Program (“Assurance Program”). As part of this new program, institutions that use the FedLine Solutions must:

  • Conduct an assessment of their compliance with the Federal Reserve Banks’ FedLine security requirements
  • Provide attestation that they have completed this assessment

These steps will help reduce the risk of fraudulent payments being sent through the payments system. While we layer and embed security within the FedLine service, your organization plays a vital role in safeguarding the payment messages and information that are transmitted over FedLine. The Assurance Program is based on the current FedLine security requirements for FedLine Solutions. This documentation is available via your organization’s End User Authorization Contacts (EUACs).

Your organization should receive its attestation materials by Friday, January 29, 2021. Your organization will have until December 31, 2021 to complete the program. Organizations will receive periodic reminders throughout the year as the deadline approaches. There is no penalty for submitting the attestation early. Going forward, we anticipate that organizations will be required to conduct a self-assessment and complete a corresponding attestation on an annual basis - once each calendar year between January 1 and December 31.

In order to assist your organization through this process and to make completing the program as easy as possible, we have highlighted several resources and answers to our customers’ questions in the Assurance Program Resource Center.

For instance, you may be wondering “Who can sign the attestation?” and “Why are we receiving the attestation materials so far in advance of the due date?” You’ll find the answers to these questions and many others on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you have additional questions about the Assurance Program, please contact the Customer Contact Center at (888) 333-7010. Our account executives are also available to assist you. To find a list of Federal Reserve Bank contacts specific to your organization, use the Find Your Contacts tool.

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Fed360

Digital payments and the path to financial inclusion

Payments innovations can offer unprecedented convenience, yet these innovations also risk excluding those with the lowest levels of economic resilience, who are less likely to have access to the digital financial system. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta recently looked at solutions to help safeguard these cash-based consumers, especially those without access to a traditional bank account.

Read more about the opportunities and challenges of financial inclusion highlighted in a FedPayments Improvement blog post (Off-site), including the preservation of cash, a strategic transition to digital and the notion of a cashless future. The commitment to open dialogue and collaboration between the public and private sector will remain critical in ensuring equal access to the U.S. payment system.

Fed360

Preparing for the third Same Day ACH window: Stale-dated entries

What is a stale-dated Automated Clearing House (ACH) entry you ask? Great question!

In an ACH batch/file, the Effective Entry Date field of the Company Batch header record is critical. It is this field that triggers same day settlement for eligible transactions. The current processing day in the Effective Entry Date field is interpreted as an intentional indication of the desire for same day settlement. However, as many financial institutions may recall from earlier phases of Same Day ACH implementation, an ongoing scenario exists in which an invalid or “stale” date in the Effective Entry Date field will trigger same day settlement (provided all other requirements for same day settlement are met).

What’s changing with the new third processing window?

Effective March 19, 2021, a third processing window will be available for Same Day ACH with an input processing deadline of 4:45 p.m. ET and settlement at 6 p.m. ET. We understand that there are still significant volumes of ACH transactions being originated with stale dates.

For a number of reasons, originating depository financial institutions (ODFIs) have elected to hold those files for release after the 2:45 p.m. ET processing deadline as a way to avoid “inadvertent” Same Day ACH processing. Starting March 19, 2021, those files will be processed as Same Day items unless ODFIs choose to delay releasing those files until after 4:45 p.m. ET and avoid same day settlement and the associated fee of 5.2 cents per transaction.

Holding ACH files for transmission until after 4:45 p.m. ET is not a recommended solution, and ODFIs might wish to consider working with their originators to resolve the occurrences of stale-dated entries so that inadvertent same day settlement is no longer a challenge.

With fewer than six months remaining until the implementation of the third Same Day ACH processing window, we strongly encourage each of our FedACH® Services customers to begin reviewing their origination volume to avoid any unwelcome surprises on their billing statements for March 2021 and beyond.

The FedPayments® Reporter Service for FedACH Services offers an ACH Originated Batch Report that provides detail such as stale-date indicators and originator information for both debit and credit entries. The report is available in an Excel® spreadsheet format and can be automatically generated on a daily and monthly basis.

For additional information on the March 19, 2021, implementation, please visit the Same Day ACH Resource Center.

Note

“Excel” is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation.

Fed360

Additional browser support coming for the FedLine Web® and FedLine Advantage® Solutions

Over the coming months, the Federal Reserve Banks will be preparing to support additional browsers for use with the FedLine Web and FedLine Advantage Solutions. While Internet Explorer® (IE) 11 continues to be the only supported browser, we are strategically updating FedLine® applications to help ensure they will function across browsers that may be supported in the future.

We expect to announce support for new browsers in early 2021 and will communicate these changes accordingly. In the meantime, your organization should continue to comply with the minimum hardware and software requirements, including the continued use of IE 11:

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer Contact Center at (888) 333-7010.

Note

“Internet Explorer” is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation.

Fed360

Fed Facts: A journey through our photo archives

Although its infrastructure and technology have changed drastically since the Federal Reserve Act was enacted in 1913, the Federal Reserve’s overall mission to foster a sound banking system and a healthy economy has remained unchanged over the past century. In this month’s issue of Fed Facts, we’re looking back in our photo archives to highlight interesting facts and milestones in our vibrant history.

Architectural details

Many of the 12 Federal Reserve Bank headquarters were built in the early 20th century and contain architectural craftsmanship that underscores the storied histories of their buildings and the cities they call home.

Since 1924, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been home to 200 tons of ironwork produced by master craftsman Samuel Yellin. The building’s ornamental wrought iron took two years to complete and was the largest job of its kind in history – at that time. Shown below is the New York Fed’s main entrance hall.

Front gate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

 

Shown below circa 1920, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s permanent building was finished in 1922. Still standing today, the building’s front façade features 65-foot-tall Corinthian columns and was designed by the firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White to produce "the impression of dignity and strength.”

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago crica 1920

 

Technology through the decades

As technology has evolved throughout the years, so has the way we process currency. As shown below, in the 1920s, cash was bundled into packages after it was counted. It was then grouped into a large package and strapped with steel bands to prevent the unauthorized removal of a bill.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago crica 1920

 

In 1944, the first IBM proof machines, shown below, were installed at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. By the 1950s, the San Francisco branch had 37 of these check processing machines in operation.

IBM machines at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco circa 1944

 

In the early 1970s, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago coordinated the Interdistrict Transportation System (ITS). Shown below, the air transport service provided overnight delivery of checks.

Airplane check delivery from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago circa 1970

 

The future of payments

Through our role as central bank and payment services provider, the Federal Reserve Banks are committed to collaborating with a wide array of stakeholders to enhance the speed, safety and efficiency of the U.S. payment system. To learn more about our ongoing efforts, visit FedPaymentsImprovement.org (Off-site).

SOURCES: