They are overlooked and underappreciated, yet they are effective and efficient. They have endured and evolved, and yet are ripe for improvement and innovation. They form an invaluable infrastructure for our nations economy, supporting countless users at any given time. Their innumerable entrances, routes, and off-ramps serve many voyagers embarked on vastly different journeys.
They are our nations payments systems. And like our nations transportation systems, their capabilities are constantly being upgraded, even as participants continue to rely on them every day. However, improving our payments systems will not be achieved without successfully confronting a myriad of challenges and obstacles along the way.
This years Annual Report essay focuses on these challenges and opportunities from the perspectives of various payments systems participants. As discussed in the essay, the continuing evolution of our nations payments vehicles is both desirable and inevitable. However, while the route taken by each transaction may be clear, the entire systems development path is not. The travelers, through their choices, will determine the itinerary.