The Federal Reserve System recently finished some extensive market research on electronic payments. The study, which included a review of existing ACH statistics, focus groups and detailed questionnaires, revealed current awareness levels and attitudes that consumers and companies have toward direct payment and direct deposit.
One of the most significant research discoveries is that both businesses and consumers have extremely high confidence in the advice they receive from their bankers, and they want to learn about electronic payments through their financial institution. The Fed also found that businesses and consumers often are confused by the term direct payment and don't understand that it refers to automatic bill payment.
Regarding direct deposit, many companies don't offer it because they don't think their employees want the service; however, 30 percent surveyed indicated that they do. More results are available on the St. Louis Fed's web site at www.frbservices.org/communications/payment_system_research.html.
On March 10, the Federal Reserve Board released a document requesting public comment on the benefits and drawbacks associated with the 1994 same-day settlement rule. This rule requires paying banks to provide same-day settlement for checks presented by private-sector banks by 8 a.m. local time. The Board also is requesting comment on the implications of potential additional rule changes to reduce legal disparities between Federal Reserve Banks and private-sector banks in the presentment and settlement checks.
Comments must be submitted on or before July 17, 1998, and should be mailed to Mr. William W. Wiles, Secretary, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20551.
For additional information, please contact Bill Leslie at (314) 444-8470.
In May, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System jointly introduced the newly designed $20 note. The Federal Reserve Banks will begin shipping the new notes to financial institutions later this fall. Because the $20 note is one of the most widely used bills, the Fed will continue to recirculate the old-style notes as the new bills replace those that wear out.
The new $20 note follows the introduction of redesigned $100 and $50 notes and incorporates many of the security features that were introduced with those bills. At no charge, the Fed will offer bankers educational tools that can be used to familiarize currency handlers with the new note and assist them with authenticating it. Those tools include: an interactive CD-ROM, a videotape, posters, tent cards and color pamphlets. Single copies will be available from local Federal Reserve Banks, while bulk requests should be directed to the Omaha Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City at (402) 221-5500.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has named Bobbi Antoff as Financial Services Customer Service Representative (CSR) in the St. Louis Office. Antoff joined the Bank in March and has eight years of banking experience. She is available to assist St. Louis zone customers in answering financial services questions, getting started on new services, and resolving problems.
To help customers with these issues in the rest of the Eighth District, each Branch Office also has assigned an employee as CSR for its zone. Customers may call them directly at the following numbers: Little Rock zone: Gerry Gray, (501) 324-8265; Louisville zone: Lisa Locke, (502) 568-9224; and Memphis zone: Nikita Little, (901) 579-2435.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has published its 1997 annual report titled Making Change: Reinventing the Federal Reserve. The report explains how recent changes in three areas—policy, bank supervision and financial services—have kept the St. Louis Fed at the forefront of the banking industry.
The annual report is available on the St. Louis Fed's web site (www.stlouisfed.org). Printed copies of the report are available by calling Debbie Dawe at (314) 444-8809.