The Federal Reserve’s initiative to speed up the U.S. payments system has been a hot topic all year long. But if corporate treasurers truly want their concerns to be heard, then they need to join the conversation.
Corporate end-users currently make up one of the smallest groups of stakeholders on the Federal Reserve Faster Payments Task Force, noted Edward Mundt, CTP, treasurer for Hard Rock International and a member of the task force steering committee. “There are over 300 people who have signed up and participate,” he said. “They’re primarily companies that are offering different services, banks and consumer protection groups. The smallest segment is end-users. And at the end of the day, corporations are the ones who are going to be affected as much or more than anyone else.”
Mundt encourages AFP members to get involved in the task force. “I think it’s something that would be great to get more people participating in,” he said. “I have my own opinion on things, but chances are, someone else in the corporate realm may have much better idea than I do. It’s tough, because we’re discussing how this is going to affect corporations and businesses, and we only have six or seven participants at any given time.”
As for why the corporate end-user group is so small, there appears to be a lack of awareness, Mundt explained. “Granted, the banks are looking at the Federal Reserve website every day,” he said. “But me, working in treasury, I’m not checking it all that often if at all. The only reason I knew about it at all was because of an article in one of AFP’s newsletters earlier this year.”
Furthermore, even corporate end-users who are aware of the Fed’s initiative may simply not understand that they can truly have a voice in the process. The sentiment among many treasurers is that the Fed has a desired outcome here and any input that differs from that end goal will fall on deaf ears. However, Mundt insists that is not the case here.
“The Fed wants this to be as large and inclusive as it can be,” he said. “This is all driven by participant input, suggestions, pros and cons, and trying to find a solution that the banks and all the other organizations can live with—and that includes end-users. It’s about the supermajority coming to a consensus.”
So the best thing corporate treasurers can do right now is to get involved. Otherwise, their core concerns may never be addressed. “The Fed really wants all the input they can get,” Mundt said. “They actively want to hear all ideas.”
Treasurers are encouraged to get involved with the Fed's strategy to improve the U.S. payments system.LEARN MORE