The COVID-19 pandemic brought extensive changes to the way that the Bank is running its critical operations — and the Cash Services Department is no exception. In 2020, the function of the Federal Reserve that supplies cash and coin to Third District depository institutions experienced record-high transaction volumes, a national coin shortage, and rapid changes to the tightly controlled and monitored operation. The professionalism and the resiliency of the team shone brightly amid the chaotic time.
“In March 2020, we were faced with a 220 percent increase in cash orders for the week,” said Jake Lofton, assistant vice president of Cash Services. “In April, there were massive call-outs due to COVID at some of our coin terminals. In June, multiple changes occurred in the delivery schedule with our armored carriers due to the civil unrest within the city.”
Innovation and quick thinking were the hallmarks of the year, as management implemented new schedules, cross-trained current employees to support the tier 1 business function, and instituted social distancing protocols. The high speed processing team tirelessly focused on generating fit currency. The administrative team updated the paper-intensive settlement processes so that some team members could work from home. The compliance teams ensured that virtual inspections and trainings took the place of in-person ones, further protecting employees from the risk of contracting the virus while still providing adequate risk mitigation. The analytics team created a new volume monitoring dashboard. Some of the operational changes may permanently alter the way Cash conducts business.
“With any one of those challenges, there could have been impact to our customers and the public,” said Greg Ramick, vice president of Cash Services. “Due to the leadership and tireless work ethic of the entire team, the consumers in our District were able to access the coin and currency that they needed to pay their bills and buy their groceries.”