Federal Reserve Payments

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The Federal Reserve is asking for comments from the business community as part of its study on the perceived problems (and solutions) regarding electronic and other types of payment systems. Perceived problems include increased potential/risk for fraud, international transactions, timeliness of funds availability and efficiency gaps. If you’d like to learn more about these topics, you’ll find more details in the Federal Reserve report titled Payment System Improvement–Public Consultation Paper.

Online Survey

As part of this effort, the Fed has created an online survey to assist it in learning about the problems and issues end users currently find problematic.

We encourage all credit professionals to complete this survey, which can be found at https://www.frbsurveys.org/se.ashx?s=3FD0ADC72EEBF8A1.

This online survey will be available through December 13. The Fed wants to learn what business credit professional currently find problematic, what needs to change and how the Fed can help. It’s exciting to know that NACM membership can assist the Federal Reserve in creating potential guidance or regulations that will steer the future of electronic payments.

Town Hall Meetings

Along with the online survey, another vital component of the process and way for NACM members to be heard is to attend any one of a series of Town Hall meetings the Fed will host to discuss the issue. NACM believes it is important that members attend these meetings to represent the B2B creditor segment of payment-systems end-users and illustrate the vast differences between business-to-consumer and B2B transactions.

We hope that you will help mobilize a group of members and attend meetings in your respective areas:

  • November 12      1 p.m.- 4 p.m. (EST)                                Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • November 13      1 p.m.- 4 p.m. (EST)                                Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
  • November 14      8:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. (CST)                   Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • November 15      8:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. (PST)                   Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
  • November 18      8:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. (EST)                   Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
  • November 20      8:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. (CST)                   Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

More information is available about each town hall meeting at this link.

Free Informative Teleconference

On November 5, Sean Rodriguez, senior vice president of industry relations for the Federal Reserve System, will discuss the main themes of the Fed’s research to date during an NACM-hosted teleconference that is exclusive (and free) for members. He will also address questions and comments from NACM members on the issues raised in its published paper mentioned above. Click here for more information on the event.


How You Can Help

In the coming days and weeks, please help us by informing your trade credit colleagues about the survey and encourage them to attend the regional meetings, if practical. And please don’t forget to fill out the survey yourself. There will be more opportunities to help in this ongoing effort in 2014 as well, and Fed officials have told NACM this likely will be a “years long” project that seeks effective solutions, especially in the area of electronic and international payments.

Drive the Discussion

The Federal Reserve’s Financial Services division has expressed a keen interest in building a relationship with NACM on the payment systems issue. As such, NACM has an opportunity through the survey and Town Hall meetings to play a role in this Fed effort by helping to articulate, define and explain the problems and to propose solutions regarding payments systems. Since the Fed has generally skewed more toward consumer-based fixes rather than B2B ones, it is really important for us to work to ensure the vast differences between the two are understood.

“We need to get people involved as trade merchants because we have a vested interest in this,” United TranzActions’ Rudet Fountain said. “The Fed said they wanted to have end-users involved because they are going to be the ones who have to use the solution. I think it is important for businesses to say what they think the solutions are. I do think there is room to get involved and have our voices heard.”

We hope that you will support us as we all try to educate our members on this topic and encourage them to engage in this important process.

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer

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