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Conference connection: Coming together virtually at Smarter Faster Payments 2021

For the second year in a row, Nacha’s Smarter Faster Payments conference (Off-site) was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the payments industry undergoing rapid changes, our Federal Reserve Bank representatives welcomed the opportunity to connect with industry participants, albeit remotely, as exhibitors and speakers at multiple sessions.

Bigger, better and faster payments

This highly anticipated payments educational conference connected thousands of stakeholders who would normally attend in person each year. Attendees were able to experience education on current payments issues and opportunities. Federal Reserve representatives participated in 18 different sessions throughout the four-day event as moderators, panelists and speakers, most notably:

  • Federal Reserve Town Hall
  • Getting Ready for Instant Payments with the FedNowSM Service
  • ACH State of the Union
  • Central Bank Digital Currency: The North America Story
  • User Insights for the FraudClassifierSM Model

Federal Reserve session highlights

During the “Federal Reserve Town Hall” session, Chief Payments Executive Mark Gould gave an update on the work underway to align internally under one Federal Reserve Financial Services enterprise. “While we at the Fed have always focused on ways to improve and innovate to serve our customers and the American people, the pace and nature of change in the industry today is raising the bar. Through that lens, we’re working to better position ourselves internally to further enhance customer experience and product innovation.”

During the “Getting Ready for Instant Payments with the FedNow Service” session, Product Management Lead Stephanie Miracle joined Senior Vice President and National Sales Director Erik VanBramer for an overview of the journey to implement instant payment capabilities using the FedNow Service.

VanBramer highlighted the essential steps financial institutions can start taking now to get ready for instant payments. Many financial institutions are unaware that their customers are already asking for instant payments, even if not by name. He highlighted three indirect ways your customers may be asking for instant payments:

  • Are there calls coming into your call center asking where a payment is? Do they have problems that could be overcome with instant payments?
  • Do you see your customers moving funds out of their account to a third-party account? A lot of apps that give the real-time feel could be driving consumers to move funds out of their accounts to the app.
  • How many bill pay transactions are going through your organization? Are your customers leveraging third parties or corporates, or are they using bill pay in different ways than they used to?

Action Item:

Check out the Industry Events page for additional events throughout the year.


The Federal Reserve Banks do not sponsor or endorse any of the non-Federal Reserve Bank-related products, parties or entities discussed in this publication.