Atlanta Fed Announces Plans for Continued Birmingham Presence

For immediate release: March 21, 2006

ATLANTA—The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta today announced plans for how it will continue to provide a full range of Federal Reserve services in Alabama. The bank will maintain a small local staff in Birmingham for certain functions and will move forward with previously announced plans to establish a cash depot to handle cash paying and receiving between the Federal Reserve and the state’s financial institutions. The Atlanta Fed also announced that it currently plans to retain its Birmingham building by seeking to lease the space that will not be used by the bank.

Birmingham staff will continue to conduct bank supervision and regulation, community development, and economic and financial education programs as well as some contingency functions. As it has in the past, the Atlanta Fed also will continue to gather economic intelligence on Alabama’s economy through its Birmingham board of directors for use in formulating national monetary policy.

“Through the approach announced today, we’re maintaining a presence in Alabama and ensuring that the state’s financial institutions continue to have ready access to the Federal Reserve’s payments services,” said Jack Guynn, president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta Fed.

The payment services operations of the Federal Reserve Banks have been changing in recent years to facilitate the shift in consumer and business preferences toward electronic financial payments, such as credit cards, debit cards and automated clearinghouse transactions. This shift, along with the Reserve Banks’ public duty to operate check services as efficiently as possible, has resulted in fewer, larger Federal Reserve check processing sites around the country. As part of this transition, check processing was discontinued at the Birmingham Branch in March 2005, and that check volume is now being processed in Atlanta.

In addition, the Reserve Banks have been examining their cash processing operations to ensure that they are most effectively providing cash services to the nation’s financial institutions. In June 2005, the Reserve Banks announced that cash processing services would be relocated from several offices, including Birmingham, and that contracted private-sector depots would handle cash paying and receiving between the Reserve Banks and financial institutions. The transition to a cash depot for Birmingham should be completed by early October 2006.

The Birmingham Branch’s zone includes all of Alabama, except for the state’s Gulf Coast counties. Approximately 15–20 employees will work in Birmingham after the transition of cash services. As previously announced, the Atlanta Fed will offer a variety of programs to assist affected staff, including separation packages, extended medical coverage and career transition assistance.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta serves the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. As part of the nation’s central banking system, the Atlanta Fed participates in setting national monetary policy, supervises numerous commercial banks and provides a variety of financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. government.

Contact: Marc Fordham 404-498-7324