What is Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve (also “the Fed”) is the central bank of the United States.  It behaves like a regulatory agency in some areas, but its main role in the file transfer industry is as the primary clearinghouse for interbank transactions batched up in files.  Nearly every bank or bank service center has a file transfer connection to the Fed.

As of January 2011 there were exactly three approved ways to conduct file transfer with the Federal Reserve.  These were:

  • Perform interactive file transfer through a web browser based application.  This has serious disadvantages to data centers which try to automate key business processes as the Fed’s interactive interface has proven to be resistant to screen scraping automation, and no scriptable web services are supported.
  • Perform automated file transfers through IBM’s Sterling Commerce software.  This is the Fed’s preferred method for high volumes.   Since Sterling Commerce software is among the most expensive in the file transfer industry, many institutions use a small number of installations of Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct for their Fed connections and use other automation software to drive Fed transfers through Perl scripts, Java applications or other methods.
  • Perform automated file transfers through Axway’s Tumbleweed software.  This is the Fed’s preferred method for medium volumes.  As with Connect:Direct, Tumbleweed Fed connections are often minimized and scripted by third-party software to reduce the overall cost of a Fed-connected file transfer installation.

The Federal Reserve’s official web site is www.federalreserve.gov.

See also: “FFIEC” (umbrella regulation, including state chartered banks), “FDIC” (federally chartered banks), “NCUA” (credit unions), “OCC” (national and foreign banks) and “OTS” (savings and loans).

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