August 24, 2021

Payments System Changes Drive Federal Reserve Reorganization

The world of payments is changing rapidly, and the Federal Reserve is changing with it.

“The world of payments has seen its fair share of disruption in recent years, driven by technology innovation and new players that are changing the value chain and competitive landscape. Industry stalwarts—the Fed included—are needing to become more agile and creative to address changing needs and expectations,” said Mark Gould, the Federal Reserve’s first Chief Payments Executive. He is overseeing the Fed’s effort to reorganize itself into an “integrated financial services enterprise” that will provide enhanced services and support for Fed customers.

Speaking at the fifth annual Federal Reserve Town Hall at Smarter Faster Payments Remote Connect, Gould said a key objective is collaboration with stakeholders to “improve the payments system broadly, with a focus on the speed, safety, and efficiency of domestic and cross-border payments.”

Gould was joined by colleagues from the new Federal Reserve Financial Services (FRFS) leadership team including Tracy Harrington, FRFS Chief Information Officer, who said the impact of COVID-19 was felt not only by the Fed but payment systems worldwide.

“The pandemic was—and still is—a pretty challenging situation around the globe. During the lockdown we saw more payments move online,” said Harrington. FRFS’s electronic payment services are “critical to the American people,” she said, citing examples ranging from distributing economic impact payments to “making sure hospitals could pay for critical medical supplies.”

“Just knowing the payment system was a source of stability, and functioned smoothly, was really critical over the last 18 months,” said Harrington. “As we look forward, and hopefully get beyond the pandemic, our vision continues to be to deliver the products and services our customers need in a way that’s easy to use, secure, available and resilient.”

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 Payments 2022

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