Financial Update (January-March 2001)

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Cover Story

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

2001 Outlook

Economic Review Article

New Birmingham Building

New Consumer Protections

Board Appointments

Financial Literacy Conference

Updated Brochure

DEPARTMENTS

Did You Know?

Data Bank

The Docket

Fed’s Check Modernization Initiative in Full Swing

Check Modernization
Industry changes and technological advances are challenging the Fed to retool its check-processing environment so that it can respond quickly to changing market needs and remain efficient and competitive.

Building on its tradition of excellence in customer service quality, the Federal Reserve System is making an important investment in the future of check services. The Fed has established a check modernization initiative that will fundamentally redesign its infrastructure for providing both paper and electronic check services.

Why now?

Industry changes and technological advances are challenging the Fed to retool its check-processing environment so that it can respond quickly to changing market needs and remain efficient and competitive. The check modernization initiative is designed to improve the overall quality and uniformity of check services to all of the Fed’s customers. The new infrastructure will improve Reserve Banks’ operating efficiency, facilitate the move to electronic payments and speed the rollout of new products.

Specifically, check modernization involves standardizing and reengineering the Fed’s check-related activities through four key projects:

  • The Enterprise-Wide Adjustments (EWA) project will move check adjustments to a streamlined common platform, with data shared across Federal Reserve Banks eventually linking to a national image archive. The Fed has already completed more than half of the EWA project implementations across the Fed system.
  • The Check Standardization project will install a standard, centrally managed item-processing platform at the Federal Reserve’s 45 check-processing sites.
  • The Image Services System project will establish a standard check-imaging platform with a national image archive and enhanced research and retrieval capabilities.
  • The Check Electronic Access and Delivery project will convert existing FedLine for DOS check services to FedLine for the Web and will eventually offer enhanced online check services.

How will the changes affect banks?

Because of the magnitude of the check modernization initiative, and to ensure continued service quality to all of its customers, the Federal Reserve has planned a carefully phased implementation schedule of these four projects for each Reserve office. The entire initiative is scheduled for completion by the end of 2003. The Atlanta Fed will keep depository institutions apprised of further details when conversion activities are imminent for the Sixth Federal Reserve District.

While these implementations are expected to cause minimal disruptions to customers’ current operations, the Fed is assuring customers it will provide them with ample notice of the changeover schedule and of any operational changes that require preparation on their part. The Atlanta Fed will also notify depository institutions of any necessary testing and training and will coordinate these activities with customers.

In the meantime, questions about check modernization should be directed to Joel Warren, the district transition manager for check modernization, at 615-251-7205.