Atlanta and Cleveland Federal Reserve Banks Team to Lead Fed System's Retail Payments Office

For Immediate Release April 20, 1998

Cathy E. Minehan, chair of the Federal Reserve's Financial Services Policy Committee (FSPC) and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, announced today that the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, has been named to lead the Federal Reserve System's Retail Payments Office (RPO). The retail payments office is responsible for overseeing the System's check and automated clearinghouse (ACH) services nationwide and for working with the financial services industry to improve the long run efficiency and effectiveness of the retail payments system.

Patrick K. Barron, first vice president and chief operating officer in Atlanta will serve as the System's product director and Richard Oliver, senior vice president in Atlanta, will serve as product manager. Frederick R. Herr, senior vice president in Atlanta, will oversee the overall check product development function for the retail payments office. Sandra Pianalto, first vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, will work with the new retail payments office in strategic planning and check processing software management.

The Boston Reserve Bank had managed the System's retail payments office for nearly four years until it assumed additional responsibilities for the FSPC as a whole at the beginning of this year. Minehan noted, "I am pleased that the Boston Fed will have the opportunity to play an expanded role in direction and planning for financial services more broadly." Accordingly, Minehan also announced that Paul M. Connolly, first vice president and chief operating officer at the Boston Fed and former retail product director, will coordinate the Federal Reserve's national financial services Century Date Change activities, while Sarah G. Green, senior vice president and former retail product manager in Boston, will assume Richard Oliver's former position as staff director for the FSPC. In addition, Katharine Gibson, vice president at the Boston Fed, will assume financial management responsibilities for the FSPC.

According to Patrick Barron, "We want to build on the terrific work of the Boston Fed and continue to foster the movement of the payments system from paper to electronics, particularly with respect to the many recommendations of the Committee on the Federal Reserve in the Payments Mechanism led by Fed Vice Chair Alice M. Rivlin." Barron also noted the need to work to improve the Fed's internal operating structure, be more responsive to customers' needs for products and services, and to safely guide System retail services through the critical century date changeover.

Sandra Pianalto, who recently coordinated the activities of the Rivlin Committee, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership approach. "By combining some of the check operations and product development expertise we have here in Cleveland with the longstanding check and ACH experience in Atlanta, we think that we can meet the many challenges of the retail area and serve the payments system well."

The Atlanta Fed will manage the ACH function for the Federal Reserve System as well as other aspects of the check system, such as electronic check presentment initiatives. Adrienne Wells, vice president, and Vicki Anderson, assistant vice president, will have responsibility for the ACH effort. The Cleveland Fed will be responsible for check operations, automation issues and new check product development. Robert Price, vice president, and Terry Roth, vice president, will provide leadership in these areas. Melinda Rushing, assistant vice president in Atlanta, will assume responsibility for strategic and financial planning for the retail payments office. In addition, Dexter Holt, assistant vice president in Boston, will maintain responsibility for check image-related projects on behalf of the new retail payments office. Al Martin, assistant general counsel in Atlanta, will provide legal support to the new payments office.

Final transition of the retail payments office from the Boston Fed to the Atlanta and Cleveland Reserve Banks is anticipated to be largely complete by year-end.


Contact: Jean Tate 404-498-8035