Smaller banks suffer Fed access delay

A Federal Reserve online service experienced intermittent problems when a number of small and medium-sized banks tried to access it earlier this week to perform daily financial activities.

The FedLine Advantage system provides Web-based access to the Fed’s automated clearinghouse and other financial services. Banks access the automated clearinghouse to electronically transact credit transfers, such as direct deposit of payrolls and Social Security benefits, and debits of consumer and business accounts, such as payments of mortgages and taxes, according to a Fed Web site.

The access system has operated normally since Wednesday, said Fed spokesman David Skidmore.

“Federal Reserve payment staff worked with individual banks to resolve the problems on Monday and Tuesday, and all were able to complete their transactions on those days. The access channels for large banks were not affected,” he said.

About 6,000 smaller banks use FedLine Advantage, a product of the Federal Reserve Financial Services, for access to payment services, such as Fedwire funds and securities services and the Fed Automated Clearing House file processing services, the Fed said. About several hundred of those banks experienced intermittent access problems on Monday and less than 100 on Tuesday. Delays were first reported in the Security Fix blog at WashingtonPost.com.

Problems included, for example, delays in access to FedLine Advantage after logging in, prematurely timing out from access or slow response time, and staff continued to determine the cause, the Fed said.

FedLine Advantage provides a browser interface for banks to access the clearinghouse services. Larger banks can use FedLine Advantage, but they also have other means of access through FedLine Command and FedLine Direct. Banks pay fees to the Fed for different types of access to the automated clearinghouse.

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