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Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Memphis Expands Its Role with Food Coupons

This year, the Memphis Branch became one of two sites in the Fed System for processing food coupons. Eventually, all Reserve banks will send their coupons via registered mail to either Memphis or the Richmond Fed.

The Fed was motivated to consolidate this service for two reasons:

  1. Processing food coupons has become increasingly expensive.
  2. The use of paper food coupons has fallen because more benefit recipients are using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT).

EBT enables recipients who do not have an account at a financial institution to establish a deposit-only account exclusively for receiving state benefits. Recipients use a debit card to draw upon their benefits, instead of receiving and using paper food coupons.

Memphis was chosen as one of the two sites because of its excellent record of accurate and timely coupon processing. In 1999, Memphis assumed responsibility for processing coupons for the St. Louis and Little Rock offices. Last April, Memphis also started processing Louisville's coupons. This experience has positioned Memphis to take on its expanded role for the System, which will benefit Eighth District customers.

U.S. Treasury Creates Two Valuable Consumer-Protection Resources

The increasing availability of low-cost, full-color, digital-imaging products has led to a surge in counterfeiting. To combat these efforts, the U.S. Treasury has created a program called Against Digital Counterfeiting of Currency (ADC). ADC includes an ad hoc panel of government representatives from various Treasury offices, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the Federal Reserve Board.

ADC collaborates with computer and copier companies throughout the world. The program's efforts include detecting equipment used in counterfeiting, preventing equipment and software from being able to copy and/or scan currency, and identifying and prosecuting criminals. To learn more about the ADC program, visit

The U.S. Treasury also has created a "Frauds, Phonies and Scams" web site to educate the public about sellers who falsely claim their financial products are issued or backed by the U.S. government. These scams have been directed at banks, charities, companies and individuals. To learn how you and your customers can protect yourself, visit