Issue #20 | October 23, 2018
Recently, from the Cleveland Fed
When was the last time CRA compliance assessments were substantially revised?
More than 20 years ago. In the meantime, technology, new types of lenders, industry consolidation, and new techniques for delivering financial services have affected Community Reinvestment Act regulations and how regulators should assess company compliance. The CRA requires banks to serve the communities in which they do business and, in particular, to serve the credit needs of low- and moderate-income individuals. In an October speech, Cleveland Fed president Loretta J. Mester details efforts underway to modernize the CRA. See what she shared.
Here’s why, in the words of our employees, people like working here
In a video describing the kind of workplace the Cleveland Fed is (we snagged the NorthCoast 99 Top Score Award for large organizations), employees reveal what makes this a place where they want to work. (One woman alludes to a desirable work-life balance: Bank employees are treated like people, she says, not “human assets.”) Scroll to Top Score Award Winners to view it.
How does the Cleveland Fed’s Cash Department handle counterfeit notes?
The Cleveland office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Cash Services Department processes more than 7 million pieces of currency per day, four days a week. We do receive a small number of notes each day that are suspected counterfeits, and we send these suspect notes to the US Secret Service for further analysis. Reports from the US Treasury estimate that less than .01 percent of US currency in circulation is counterfeit.
The Cleveland Fed provides cash services—counting, verifying, and distributing money—to commercial banks and financial institutions within the Fourth Federal Reserve District [Ohio, western Pennsylvania, the northern panhandle of West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky]. Currency is deposited to the Fed via armored carrier, and each banknote is checked for condition and verified for authenticity before putting it back into circulation.
The financial institutions, which have accounts with the Fed in much the same way consumers have accounts with banks, do a thorough job of identifying suspected counterfeits before they deposit currency with us, but, occasionally, counterfeit bills slip through. If we do receive a suspect counterfeit note, we charge the financial institution for the value of that banknote.
For all deposits received, we must verify and count every banknote. First, all deposited currency goes through a high-speed sorting machine to examine it for damage, soiling, and graffiti and to check the banknote’s embedded security features, which help us determine if the note is genuine US currency. Banknotes in good condition are deemed fit, assembled into 1,000 piece bundles, and stored in our vault until they are needed for a future currency order. Notes in poor condition are destroyed. If a note is rejected by the machine, a second verification process kicks into place, and a cash operator feeds it into a slower-speed machine. During that process, operators are manually handling each note and will carefully examine any that do not appear to be genuine.
Cash operators are rigorously trained to look for imperfections and to recognize the unique security features that the US Treasury has designed into each denomination and series year of US currency. For example, in larger denomination notes, a security thread is embedded and can be seen through the note when held up to the light. This thread contains the inscribed dollar amount of the note. Operators also check for color-shifting ink on the newer notes. These are just two security measures in place that we consumers can check ourselves.
Graphic of the Month
A sign of stress, but…
It’s true that steady increases during the past several quarters in the Lexington metro area’s credit card delinquency rate suggest that the financial condition of households may be deteriorating slightly. But, even with an increase of 0.6 percentage points between the first quarters of 2017 and 2018, at 6.4 percent, the rate is still less than that of the state and the nation.
On the Calendar
July 14–December 6
Volatility Smile (Cleveland, OH)
Contemporary art by Philip Vanderhyden on display at the Cleveland Fed Monday through Thursday, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
Ohio Wesleyan University’s 2019 Economic Outlook Conference with Cleveland Fed Senior Vice President Mark Schweitzer (Delaware, OH)
Faster Payments Town Hall (Noon to 3 pm, Cleveland, OH) Offer your views about potential Federal Reserve actions to facilitate real-time interbank settlement of faster payments during public meetings in the Fed’s 12 districts across the country. Attend the one in Cleveland (or others in various cities on dates ranging from Oct. 29 to Nov. 19) to hear an overview, ask questions, and discuss.
Financial Stability: Markets and Spillovers (Washington DC)
May 9–10, 2019
Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference (Washington DC)
June 19–21, 2019
Policy Summit 2019 (Cincinnati, OH)
From around the Federal Reserve System
Killer robots? Not so much
An editor from the Minneapolis Fed details a recent study of German labor markets data that explored whether robots are “job killers,” and found no evidence that they are. What researchers did find is that, as a result of increased use of robots, workers with low- and medium-level skills see less wage improvement over time.
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