FPC Draws Member Input with Town Halls on FedNowSM

Kim Ford, FPC Executive Director

The clock is ticking.

While responses to the FedNow Request for Comment aren’t due until November 7, we’re looking at a significant strategic undertaking: we’re forming recommendations for the first new payments system initiated by the Fed in more than 40 years. With our responses, we, quite literally, are shaping the future of payments. And, that’s no small task, as I mentioned previously.

But it’s important precisely because our input matters. We want to make sure we’re hearing from our diverse membership base and considering the various roles each of you plays in this faster payments ecosystem. So, last week we held the first of three Town Halls to dive into the structure and operational components of the Fed’s proposed system.

Hosted by the FPC’s Education and Awareness Work Group, this Town Hall offered an opportunity for direct engagement with the Fed, including a robust Q&A session. We were thrilled to have upwards of 100 of our members on the line to hear directly from Kirstin Wells, principal economist at the Federal Reserve Board.

Kirstin spoke openly with our membership, addressing questions coming in from our members on topics such as ubiquity, interoperability, and industry collaboration. The Town Hall made it clear that nationwide reach is a key objective for the Fed, with Kirstin dubbing it a measure of success for FedNow.

In addition, Kirstin emphasized that the Fed would like to understand how our members feel about other proposed characteristics of FedNow, including:
  • irrevocability
  • additional descriptors that can be included in the ISO 20022 message format
  • the $25,000 transaction limit
  • real-time confirmation of the validity of the receiver’s account
  • intraday credit
  • access through FedLine
  • and auxiliary features such as the ability to make a request for payment, originate a payment with an email address or phone number using a directory, and fraud prevention services.
We were able to point out that our Regulatory, Directories, and Fraud Work Groups will be tackling these and other relevant topics in their upcoming work efforts.

Our expansive, hour-long session resulted in a valuable back and forth, with many insightful questions and candid responses from the Fed. As was suggested on the Fed’s own webinar earlier this month, they are looking to the FPC as a place for collaboration, engagement and discussion. That message came through loud and clear on our Town Hall.

Yet, with this important first conversation behind us, we know there’s a need for more focused dialogue around critical issues. To that point, we are holding two more Town Halls for FPC members to dive into hot-button topics in the proposal, specifically:
  • Directories and interoperability – Members can join us on Wednesday, September 25 at 3 pm ET, when we will have a special focus on these topics.
  • Fraud mitigation – Members can participate on Thursday, October 10 at 3 pm ET, to explore ways in which we can address the concerns around safety and security.
These Town Halls are important to the FPC. The feedback we receive will help inform our response to the FedNow Request for Comment, and we encourage you to speak up in these sessions.

In addition, we will use other forums to gain member insights. For example, this week we will be garnering member input at the MAG Annual Conference (watch for an upcoming blog post on that event). We also will be soliciting feedback from our Work Groups and at our fall member meeting, so there are plenty of opportunities to engage. We hope you’ll continue to share your thoughts and opinions with us—and join the dialogue.

Because your input matters. It’s clear that the FPC offers a distinct voice in the industry. With the close of the comment period approaching, now is the time to ensure your participation and make your voice heard.
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