FedACH® Services Business Continuity Guide
Disruption of Services
The Federal Reserve Banks have multiple sites to support connections to critical applications. If there is a service or building disruption, the processing of files and the associated financial accounting entries may be delayed, with plans to resume as quickly as possible at contingency sites.
During a disruption, Federal Reserve staff will work to ensure the highest possible level of service. Successful operations will require both coordination and cooperation between financial institutions and Federal Reserve staff. The Federal Reserve FedACH® and Check Services Customer Support will broadcast information to financial institutions using e-mail, FedLine®, telephone, recorded messages or website postings. Customer Support staff offers service support for all products. You may also view the current Service Status and/or General Notifications by accessing Service Status at any time.
How You Should Prepare
Knowledge of the plans outlined here will help ensure continued service during a Federal Reserve FedACH or Check Services processing disruption. Your normal operating procedures, record keeping practices, and attention to daily routines are important safeguards against processing interruptions. In addition to help minimize a disruption of service, financial institutions are encouraged to implement the following:
- Bookmark Service Status and refer to it regularly.
- Conduct periodic training to ensure that personnel are familiar with the information included in business continuity plans.
- Identify key personnel to communicate with the Federal Reserve personnel and disseminate information as quickly as possible during service disruptions.
- Have business continuity plans and contact information readily available to appropriate personnel during service disruptions.
Furthermore, financial institutions with electronic connections to Federal Reserve services are invited to participate in FedACH and Check Services contingency tests. During these tests, customers assess their ability to resume processing of their transactions following a FedACH or Check Services recovery simulation.
For more information about contingency planning for FedMail, please review the FedMail Contingency Guide for FedACH Services (PDF).
Contingency guides for the FedLine Web and FedLine Advantage access solutions are available via the EUAC Center.
What You Can Expect
If you suspect a disruption to either FedACH or Check Services processing operations, we suggest you view the current Service Status as the Federal Reserve may already be aware of the issue. Be assured that the Federal Reserve and their personnel are working diligently to reinstate any disruption in service as quickly as possible.
As each disruption is unique, the Federal Reserve will react according to the specific situation.
What You Should Do
For business continuity planning, financial institutions should consider their ability to react to potential demands of a disruption. Each business disruption is unique and the specific aspects of a business disruption will determine the necessary course of action. In addition, the specific services used by the financial institution, its access to alternatives, transaction processing capacity, management decisions and legal issues will all need to be considered prior to taking specific action.
While every attempt will be made to recover from the business disruption as soon as possible, it is the responsibility of each customer to conduct its business accordingly.
- Notify all pertinent personnel at your institution of the service disruption, according to your institution's specific crisis communication escalation procedures.
- Refer to Service Status to obtain the current operational status of FedACH and Check Services processing and other instructions.
- Ensure that you have done your best to manage and fund your account (if necessary).
- It is important that you reconcile to the point of failure before processing (reprocessing) additional transactions.
- If a disaster occurs during midday processing, financial institutions should attempt to reconcile at the file level against file acknowledgements to the point of failure before additional files are submitted.
- Review and/or execute your own business resumption plan as needed.
- Contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support with any issues or concerns.
For Virtual Private Network (VPN) Connection Service Disruptions
If your Internet connection becomes unavailable, you may configure the VPN device to connect via a secondary Internet Service Provider (ISP). When Internet connectivity is restored, secondary ISP connectivity will remain in place until your organization reverts back to your primary ISP.
For Dedicated Wide Area Network (WAN) Connection Service Disruptions
Financial institutions do not need to do anything to re-establish communications. Once host processing is restored, communication connections will be re-established, with all data security procedures remaining in effect.
For FedLine Service Disruptions
Financial institutions do not need to do anything to re-establish communications. Updates and instructions will be provided via recorded messages, e-mail, and website postings on Service Status. Note: Upon the restoration of normal operations, if financial institutions cannot complete transactions, they should contact the Support Center.
After a Disruption
- All input and output FedACH files should be retained for possible retransmission.
- All deposit and presentment check files should be retained for possible retransmission.
- All out-of-balance transactions should be retained until reconcilement is possible and completed. At the resumption of service, account balances will be based on Federal Reserve records. It is the responsibility of the financial institutions to resend files previously sent that are not shown on Federal Reserve records.