The Customer Relations team for Federal Reserve Financial Services (FRFS) is on the front lines of engaging with nearly 10,000 financial institutions across the country. Meet Todd Wilson, one of this team’s many “faces of the Fed.”
How do you approach being a national account relationship manager for FRFS payments processor and provider customers?
I take a consultative approach with FRFS customers. What do they need and how can we work together to accomplish their goals? It’s incredibly important for me to understand the decision-makers and influencers, which allows me to tailor my approach to each customer.
For example, some of our customers require an FRFS service acquisition to support their business models and practices – meaning they need to more quickly to implement the FRFS services used elsewhere in their systems – where others acquire institutions that will run autonomously for some months before being fully folded into the practices of the parent company. My goal is to show the value of FRFS by working across their internal silos, asking the right questions and being a responsive partner.
In my career, building and maintaining internal and external customer relationships are critical no matter where I have worked within the FRFS national account team, including as I moved from supporting our relationships with some of the largest financial institutions in the country, to supporting our payments processors and providers in 2020. It made sense for me to move to the new team since I have long-standing relationships with a number of payments aggregators and processors, such as Fiserv and FIS.
What are customers’ top priorities these days?
For both our FRFS customers and the broader industry, the FedNow® Service (Off-site) is top-of-mind. Many customers are focused on implementation of the service, such as their options to connect to our instant payments service via any of our FedLine® Solutions, while others joined the FedNow Pilot Program (Off-site) beginning in 2021 to become early adopters. Some payments processors will provide connectivity to the FedNow Service, while other entities are payments aggregators (bankers banks and corporate credit unions) and providers who will provide software to potential FedNow customers.
In addition, financial institutions are preparing their systems for the Fedwire® Funds Service adoption of the ISO® 20022 message format, which is scheduled for March 2025. Due to Fedwire’s further-out implementation date, their other technology demands and resource constraints, customers now are now realizing that the Fedwire migration date is essentially right around the corner. The ISO migration is significant for FRFS, our customers and their customers, so our customer relations team will be engaging with customers actively during the migration. The FRFS Fedwire team has provided a helpful online implementation center, a monthly ISO 20022 newsletter, “On the Wire,” webinars and drop-in calls.
Many of my customers are well-positioned to help their financial institution customers participate in and offer instant payments through the FedNow Service. Our customer relations team has been working diligently for the past three years to support customers in preparing for launch this month. In addition, it’s exciting to see how U.S. payments will be flowing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with our Fedwire Funds Service, the June introduction of seven-day accounting and the upcoming FedNow Service.
When and how did you join the Federal Reserve?
I grew up in central Ohio and have always loved the water. Thirty-seven years ago this coming fall, I applied for a job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta‘s Miami branch after earning my undergrad degree from Ohio State. Of all the interviewees that day, five individuals were ultimately hired, and I wasn’t one of them.
Before going to college, I was a boat captain for several years. On my way to being a boat captain once again (after college and that first interview with the Fed), I met with the Miami branch hiring managers the next time I was in town. During that follow-up meeting with them, I was offered a job! I joined the Fed six months later.
The Fed became, and has continued to be, my career for numerous reasons. Here are three that rise to the top: meaningful work for our country’s payment system; amazing colleagues who have become lifelong friends; and the Fed’s focus on employee well-being. The Fed has given me lots of opportunities to work in different areas of the bank. At the Miami branch, I worked in every area except supervision and regulation. In 2003, I transferred to the Atlanta Fed to work in business development after we consolidated the Miami check operation as part of the Check 21 initiative. In 2005, I transferred to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to join the national account team and what is now FRFS.
What do you do for fun?
My wife Marguerite and I are outdoor people who love the water. We are lucky to have homes in Florida and North Carolina, where we enjoy fishing in Biscayne Bay, mountain biking, sailing, walking and paddleboarding. Many of my meetings with customers have become virtual since COVID-19 began. However, it’s been fun to travel again to join more in-person meetings with my customers or FRFS colleagues now that the pandemic has subsided.
To find and engage with your institution’s relationship manager, visit the Contact page.