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Central Banker - Fall 2007

Central Banker - Fall 2007

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Published by: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on Aug 13, 2010
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Fall 2007
 y now, you’re undoubtedly aware o thepending System-wide changes in theFederal Resere’s check operations. Thelong-term strategy or restructuring check andcheck adjustment operations will reduce thenumber o check processing sites rom 22 nation-wide locations to our regional sites: Philadelphia,Cleeland, Atlanta and Dallas.In the Eighth District, the Memphis and St. Louisoces will no longer proide the ull range o checkprocessing serices once all transitions are com-pleted. Memphis’ olume will moe to the AtlantaFed in the third quarter o 2008. St. Louis’ olumewill moe to Atlanta in the rst quarter o 2011.But what does this mean or you, the EighthDistrict banker?“We are still a ull-serice shop until the con-solidation,” says Bill Little, assistant ice presidento Check Processing Management in St. Louis.“We’re still continuing to oer the transparent andull leel o customer serice that bankers expect.”The Eighth District will also continue to processU.S. Postal Serice money orders and U.S. Trea-sury checks, including Philadelphia’s olume start-ing in mid-2008, making St. Louis the only Fedthat processes Treasury checks.The most important actionbankers can take, Littleexplains, is to watch or communications romthe Fed about what willhappen and when. “Beon the lookout or customer communications concerningimpending changes at local andother Bank oces, such as where tosend checks, aailability o process-ing, transportation and more,” hesays. “Communicationsusually arrie well inadance—approxi-mately 120 days out.”For more inorma-tion, read the Fed’sannouncement atwww.ederalresere.go/boarddocs/press/other/2007/20070626/deault.htm.
News and Views for Eighth District Bankers
Go Direct 
campaign has converted more than 1 millionederal benet checks to direct deposit since the U.S. Treasurycreated the program in the all o 2005. The millionth conver-sion came in June. More than 60,000 o these conversionscame rom the Eighth District alone.
Go Direct 
is designed to protect recipients o Social Securityand other ederal benets rom raud and identity thet andgive them greater control over their money by switching themrom paper checks to direct deposit. The program relies heavilyon partnerships with community organizations, including banks,credit unions and other nancial institutions.Memphis, which served as the sole Eighth District pilot locationbeore the program went national, has several local organizationsinvolved. Visit www.godirect.org to learn all about the program andwww.godirect.org/partners/partners_localRegional.cm to viewa list o local and regional organizations. I you are interested inhaving your bank or institution become a partner, call
Go Direct 
at 952-346-6055 or click the Partners link on the web site.
Go Direct 
Converts More Than 1 Million Accounts to Direct Deposit
Innovation ConerenceShowcases Fed’sOutreach Eorts
Summary o
Central Banker 
Survey Results
Fed EncouragesInnovation inCommunity Develop-ment Financing
Regional Roundup 
Changes Proposed toRegulation Z’s CreditDisclosures
Is There an InfationDisconnect, and CouldIt Aect Policymaking? 
Watch or Fed Communications on Check Consolidations
Innovation Conerence ShowcasesFed’s Outreach Eorts
By David A. Sapenaro, frst vice president o the Federal Reserve Bank o St. Louis
ome time ago, the Federal ResereBank o St. Louis began ocusingon greatly enhancing our outreacheorts throughout the Eighth District.
The goal was—and is—to be a ital resourcein community deelopment, economic andnancial education, and more. Since then,our District-wide presence has fourished andcontinues to do so.
Our outreach is designed to help bankers,economists, educators, business owners and oth-ers through economic education and inorma-tion sharing. It’s also centered on conductingregional economic research that can be used bypolicymakers and decision-makers throughoutthe District. In other words, it’s a mutually ben-ecial outreach, and, so ar, it has worked rather well. In act, strengthening ties throughout theDistrict actually became part o our Bank’s mis-sion this year.We want to make sure that we continue tooer some o the best and most useul opportu-nities aailable or inormation sharing, net-working, education and growth. We continueto explore new topics and ideas that will be o interest to you, while continuing to oer theehicles you’e come to alue. Our current pro-grams include Economic Forums, the Businessand Economic Research Group (BERG), theCenter or Regional Economics—8th District(CRE8), arious Community Aairs-sponsoredworkshops and seminars, and much more.A great example happened earlier this year when we sponsored a gathering called “Explor-ing Innoation: A Conerence on CommunityDeelopment Finance.” It proed to be a mega-hit. With the help o a couple o nationallyrenowned presenters, our Community Aairsdepartment put together a conerence thatexplored so many dierent ways o nding andorganizing community deelopment nancingthat most attendees let with a eeling o haingreally accomplished something. We were stillgetting praise months ater the conerence.Going orward, we will seek to organize simi-lar conerences and programs that bring alue tobankers and our other constituents throughoutthe District.
   w   w   w .   s    t    l   o   u    i   s    f   e    d .   o   r   g
ast year, we surveyed
Central Banker 
readers to help determinewhat readers like and dislike about this publication. The resultswere fattering, and we thank all o you who answered the survey.Nearly seven percent o our readership responded to the survey.Almost all who responded said that they read every issue o
Central Banker 
. Mostly, they are happy with the publication and itscontent: The writing is clear, the variety is good and the story lengthis generally just right. The majority indicated that the articles most oten read are the lead story, the Feditorial and the Page 3 eature.Respondents also indicated that they are interested in hearing moreabout banking trends, industry changes, and rules, regulations and policies.One surprise was the lukewarm response to our ideas to expandour online presence. Most indicated they did not read
Central Banker 
 online; only hal said they would read
Central Banker 
i it wasconverted to an entirely electronic publication.All o the results told us that we should continue to deliver thesame high-quality product.I you have additional comments you’d like to share, please sendthem in care o Scott Kelly to the address on the back o this issue.Thank you or reading
Central Banker 
To Our Readers: Summary of
Central Banker 
Survey Results
   w   w   w .   s    t    l   o   u    i   s    f   e    d .   o   r   g
F encourags Bankrs To B innovatvn Communty dvlopmnt Fnancng
hen you build a better mousetrap, you’re not actually startingrom the ground up. You’re taking an existing product and mak-ing it better.Likewise when you, as a banker, are looking at community development nancing, there’s no need to start rom scratch. Take the innovative approachby taking advantage o what’s already available—and make it better.That’s the continuing message o the St. Louis Fed’s Community Aairsdepartment, which sponsored the well-received “Exploring Innovation:A Conerence on Community Development Finance,” held in May inSt. Louis. CommunityAairs is using the lessonsand resources rom that conerence to oer ongoingcommunity nancing innovation assistancethroughout the Eighth District.“The whole point o the conerence was tohelp attendees realize that they don’t have tobe the genius who comes up with a new inven-tion,” says Matt Ashby, senior communityaairs specialist. “Instead, we wantedthem to see that innovation caninvolve bringing together peoplerom dierent corners o thecommunity.”To help attendees under-stand the concepts and comeaway with something useul, theconerence was ar more than a mere “sit-and-listen” event.
Innovative about Innovation
Glenda Wilson, Community Aairs assistant vice president, explainsthat other than a ew keynote speakers who laid the groundwork orthinking innovatively about community development nancing, most o the sessions revolved around acilitated discussions, small breakout sessions, unique note-taking techniques, networking and sharing o experi-ences. “We sought to create an environment where the learning couldfow between our presenters and attendees,” says Wilson.Attendees included bankers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, andrepresentatives rom numerous community organizations, municipal gov-ernments, academia, and more—including some rom outside the EighthDistrict. “We were quite pleased that we were able to help this diversegroup come together and see how their individual components couldmesh, whether they worked in nance, aordable housing, entrepreneur-ship or economic development,” Wilson says.And just what 
they learn? Some o the many nancing conceptsthat presenters and organizers drove home were:Use the already-established resources in your community in acollaborative sense.Be creative in your approach to nd sources o capital, which caninclude social groups and the government.Start thinking in innovative ways to help others outside yourimmediate circle and draw them into your network. For example,identiy business models that nonprot organizations could use tobecome sel-sustaining; ordetermine what role yournancial institution can playto address a developer’s needsto make a project work.Those examples barely begin togive an idea o what was presented,discussed and mulled over throughout the conerence. Innovation presentersalso wanted attendees to look insidetheir organizations, as well. For example,Paul Light, a proessor at NYU Wagner, gaveour characteristics that innovative organiza-tions share:They know the uture will change, which helpsthem stay relevant.There are six or ewer layers between thetop and bottom, making them agile asorganizations.Their employees are saturated with inormation about what is goingon and are more likely to oer ideas to generate change.They realize that changing things requires knowing the starting point and anticipating where they could end up.I you want to ully understand what attendees heard and learned, goto www.stlouised.org/community/innovation/web/ramepages/index.htm and scroll through each day’s notes. You’ll see the ideas that werepresented, as well as the actual notes o those ideas.To take innovation in community development nance urther, Wilsonand Ashby recommend using the notes rom the conerence as both a start-ing point and an ongoing resource. The conerence page is a permanent addition to the Fed’s web site.And in 2008, the Community Aairs sta will kick o the rst ExploringInnovation in Community Development Week, with activities plannedthroughout the District.

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