Financial Update (July-September 2000)


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The Docket

Fed Introduces Nationally Standardized Check Services

Electronic check processing just got easier for financial institutions that have branches in several different Federal Reserve Districts and, as a result, interact with numerous Reserve Banks. As of April 3, Reserve Banks have standardized their electronic check products so that names, definitions and billing codes are now uniform for all nationwide electronic check products. These products include magnetic ink character recognition products, presentment point services, electronic cash letter products and check adjustment products.

Because industry consolidation has intensified, the number of financial institutions and service bureaus doing business with multiple Reserve Banks has increased. In the past, these institutions had to operate under the different rules, definitions for electronic check products and fees used by the various Reserve Banks with which they interacted. In an effort to make these electronic check products more uniform and reduce confusion, Reserve Banks chose to set a national standard for all electronic check product names, definitions and billing codes.

This standardization makes it simpler for customers to purchase and centrally manage electronic check services from any or all of the 12 Reserve Banks across the country. “This change is in direct response to requests from financial institutions that do business with multiple Reserve Banks,” said Jay Curry, vice president and branch manager of the Atlanta Fed’s Miami Branch. “By standardizing electronic check services, customers will now find consistent electronic check products, terminology, billing codes and services across the entire Federal Reserve System. And the standardized environment will help us at the Fed respond faster and more efficiently in meeting our customers’ emerging needs.”

A complete list of the Fed’s nationwide electronic check products and detailed product information are available on the Web at