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September/October 1996, 
Vol. 78, No. 5
Posted 1996-09-01

Clearing and Settlement of U.S. Dollar Payments: Back to the Future?

by Bruce Summers and R. Alton Gilbert

The Federal Reserve Banks’ share of U.S. dollar payments processing has declined since 1980, when Congress required the Banks to begin charging for their services. The authors conclude that, while this trend is not likely to lead to the inefficiencies that existed before formation of the Fed, the Reserve Banks must continue to provide services to fulfill the central bank’s obligation to ensure the safety of the payments system. Among these important services are Fedwire services for transferring funds and securities, and net settlement services.