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Fed Spotlight: Brad Bristow of Customer Relations

The Customer Relations team for Federal Reserve Financial Services (FRFS) is on the front lines of engaging with more than 9,000 financial institutions across the country. Meet Brad Bristow, one of this team’s many “faces of the Fed.”

What is a typical day like for you as an FRFS regional relationship manager?

As with many professions, there is no typical day, and that’s what I like about it! I serve 105 financial institutions ranging in size from $300 million to $44 billion in assets and headquartered mostly in Ohio and Kentucky — although I also have customers in slivers of Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

I’m now seeing customers at in-person meetings, which means I may jump in my car at 7 a.m. and drive two hours to rural Ohio on any given day. It’s also normal that some customers attend virtual meetings due to hybrid work. Meeting customers at industry conferences is a big part of my job, too. I tell them to think of me as an extension of their organization, where I’ll either have the answer about an FRFS product or can get it to them in a timely manner.

How did you come to work for the Fed?

I was a branch manager for a large financial institution in 2021 and got to talking with a former colleague who is now a regional customer relations manager at the Fed. He knew about my focus on customer service, alerted me to a job opening in his area and encouraged me to apply. I didn’t meet with my manager in the office for a year and a half because of the pandemic. Being hired during that period actually worked in my favor, because it gave me more time to learn on the job.

What topics do you discuss with your customers?

Not surprisingly, the FedNow® Service (Off-site) has been a popular topic in my ongoing customer meetings and at industry conferences. Many financial institutions have used payments processors to support their FedNow Service onboarding process. Around 14% of my customers were on the network by the end of 2023. Momentum of FedNow Service adoption has been strong, and we expect more instant payments volume as use cases offered by financial institutions continue to be launched to the masses. In a way, it’s like smartphone adoption — they were once new and rare, and now, we wonder how we ever got by without them.

The FedPayments® Insights Service is one of the most well-received products I demonstrate, as it replaces manual tracking of ACH return ratios. It also gives customers a window to the financial institution’s ACH trends and activities. Customers also are asking more about Application Programming Interfaces or APIs for automated access to several FRFS payment services, which the Federal Reserve has been pilot testing and plans to begin delivering to customers this year. Overall, the customers I work with are easygoing and appreciate the support we provide for their critical payment services.

Outside your Fed role, what do you do for fun?

My wife of 17 years, Kim, and I are Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers season ticket holders. We like concerts and saw Pink, Bryan Adams and the Beach Boys in 2023. We also enjoy our city’s great local restaurants and bike rides in the Cleveland Metroparks (Off-site).

Brad and Kim Bristow at a Browns football game in Cleveland.

ACTION ITEM: To find and engage with your institution’s relationship manager, visit the Contact page.