2009 Bank Highlights> > >
The Audit Department hosted a two-day symposium entitled "The R.I.S.K. Environment: Responsibility, Innovation, Strategies, and Knowledge." The symposium provided Bank staff with continued professional development through information sharing and interaction with Bank, professional, and community leaders. Approximately 30 participants heard speakers from the Bank, Cotton & Company, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other Reserve Banks and Federal Reserve Information Technology. In addition, Philadelphia Fed director Ted Peters, chairman and chief executive officer, Bryn Mawr Trust Company, discussed the role of the Audit Committee. The department also hosted a visiting senior information technology auditor from the Bank of Lithuania to observe an information technology audit in process. The visitor had attended the department's Regional Workshop on Internal Audit of Central Banks and Financial Sector Regulatory Authorities. Since that time, the department has engaged in discussions regarding opportunities for sharing best practices between the two Audit departments.
In 2009, the currency counting division completed a major upgrade to the eight highspeed currency-processing machines. This effort included both software and hardware updates with many technological advances for throughput and efficiency. Each upgrade required rigorous testing and significant retraining of staff and management. Also, Cash led several work groups to improve operational planning in the areas of cash training, business continuity, and the receipt and destruction of contaminated currency.
The department continued to support the Federal Reserve System's Mortgage Outreach and Research Efforts by hosting a conference for regulators and academic researchers on data requirements for better understanding housing and credit markets. In addition, department staff collaborated with staff at the Board of Governors to create a questionnaire for all 12 Reserve Banks to survey recipients about their use of federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. Other accomplishments include the publication of Atlantic City: Past as Prologue ; The Affordability and Availability of Rental Housing in Pennsylvania; and Alternative Financial Service Providers and the Spatial Void Hypothesis: The Case of New Jersey and Delaware . The department's longitudinal study of the effectiveness of homeownership counseling continued with 897 participants. The department's economic education staff reached over 700 teachers with courses designed to help K-12 school teachers understand economic concepts, the Federal Reserve System, monetary policy, and personal financial education. Furthermore, economic education staff developed six new lessons with the St. Louis Fed for use in the classroom.
Philadelphia's ERM officer provided System leadership by co-chairing the International Operational Risk Working Group conference and led presentations on risk reporting and business continuity. The department officer also made a presentation at a business continuity program sponsored by the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies. In addition, the department introduced the Innovation Forum, a program designed to encourage employees to think innovatively and to share their ideas with the Bank population.
The Facilities Management Department oversaw the completion of construction for the Bank's off-site screening facility. The new building, which officially opened in October 2009, is used for screening general delivery trucks, check courier vehicles, and armored carriers before the vehicles proceed to the main Bank building. The department also continued its efforts to make the Bank more environmentally friendly, in particular through a pilot program to replace all of the fluorescent light fixtures in the Bank with energy-efficient ones.
Staff in FMS chaired several System groups, including the COSO Coordinators Group, the Cost Accounting Group, the Enterprise Risk Management Group, and the Government Entity Accounting Reporting System Management Steering Group. FMS also acted as trustee chair for the Accounting Professional Education Program. In her role as chair of the Enterprise Risk Management Group, the Bank's chief financial officer led an effort to review and develop recommendations to enhance the System's original enterprise risk management framework, which was developed in 2004.
In 2009, Financial Statistics staff continued to provide superior analysis to ensure the accuracy and quality of incoming data used by Federal Reserve policymakers responding to credit market disruptions and changing economic conditions. Many staff members made important contributions to the Federal Reserve System's Statistics and Reserves Technology Modernization Project, to management and enhancement of existing technology applications and business processes, and to System-level training initiatives.
Human Resources continued its leadership of the strategic effort to implement a talent management program. In 2009, work focused on educating employees about the new core competency model. To support the talent management program, HR introduced a new e-performance module. HR developed an employment brand identity for the Bank by creating an onboarding Internet site for use by potential new hires. The department also expanded its participation in diversity recruiting fairs. All functions within HR supported the downsizing of operations in Retail Payments by providing counseling services, outplacement support, job search workshops, and other transition support services. HR partnered with other departments to develop a Bank-wide community service and volunteer initiative. The mission of this effort, called PhillyFedCARES, is to recognize and publicize the individual and group volunteer efforts of Bank employees.
IT Services managed scores of internal Bank projects, supporting most business lines, and provided significant support to the Federal Reserve System and the Treasury. Major IT leadership assignments included enhancements to collateral management systems, software quality assurance services for major projects throughout the Federal Reserve System, and a proposal to rework the architecture of the Federal Reserve's network infrastructure (for voice, data, and video). A Bank-wide wireless system was implemented to complement the traditional local area network (LAN) connections. The Groupware Leadership Center (GLC) actively supported the development and promotion of a national IT Services strategic plan and deployed major new releases of collaboration technologies, including e-mail and integrated instant messaging, team workplace sites, and enterprise social networking. An important new video conferencing technology called telepresence was piloted at the Board of Governors and the Richmond, Dallas, and New York Feds. The video conferencing team is overseeing installation of telepresence rooms at other Reserve Banks.
The Law Enforcement Department has integrated the off-site screening facility into its security operations. It has also completed a major renovation and technology upgrade of the department's control center and video surveillance security system.
The Bank's general counsel continued to chair the System's Subcommittee of Ethics Officers, which provides information, guidance, and support to the ethics programs of all the Reserve Banks. As chair, the general counsel worked with other Reserve Bank attorneys on drafting new financial disclosure forms to be used by the presidents and economists with regular and ongoing access to Class I FOMC information. The general counsel also headed a work group of Reserve Bank attorneys that organized a training session open to all Reserve Bank attorneys. A department officer continues to provide legal support to the System's Groupware Leadership Center. Another officer serves as the legal liaison to the System's Workers' Compensation Coalition. A third officer is working with Board attorneys on a System-wide litigation project.
The Payment Cards Center organized three important meetings in 2009. The first, cosponsored with the Bank's Community Affairs Department, brought together participants from the academic, government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors to discuss the need for better collection and dissemination of housing- and mortgage-related data for the purposes of supervision, mitigation, and state-of-the-art research. The second examined the current state of the credit counseling industry as it attempts to respond to the financial crisis and the rapid growth of for-profit debt-settlement companies. The third, co-sponsored with the Bank's Research Department, brought together 75 scholars to discuss the latest research on consumer credit and payments. In addition, the center welcomed a new director in 2009.
The Public Affairs Department published The First Bank of the United States: A Chapter in the History of Central Banking , a booklet that will be used by teachers using the Bank's economic education programs nationwide. The department also helped promote Community Affairs' work in support of the System's Mortgage Outreach and Research Efforts (MORE). In addition to gaining publicity in traditional media, the Public Affairs team placed the Bank's 2005 video, "Buried by Debt: The Dangers of Borrowing," as streaming video on the Bank's website and on YouTube. The department also began a multi-year project to redesign the Bank's intranet to incorporate tighter integration with the Groupware Leadership Center's collaboration tools. Public Affairs also welcomed more than 31,000 people to the "Money in Motion" exhibit in 2009.
In January, the Research Department helped to organize a meeting on regulatory reform that brought together academic experts on financial regulation with Federal Reserve presidents and Governors. The director of research spent four months at the Board of Governors as a visiting Reserve Bank officer in the Division of Monetary Affairs. Department staff provided assistance to the city of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on budget and economic analysis, to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Statistics Canada on measuring rents and intangible assets, and to the European Central Bank on conducting business surveys. The department appointed a full-time director for its Real-Time Data Research Center. The Survey of Professional Forecasters, which is produced by the center, provided forecasts used in the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program (the so-called stress test) and center staff worked with staff at the Board to add questions to a survey that will aid in bank supervision. Research continued to produce a number of business surveys, including the Business Outlook Survey, which is used as an indicator of regional as well as national manufacturing activity. The department sponsored the eighth Philadelphia Fed Policy Forum, and Research staff organized several conferences that covered such topics as international trade, macroeconomics and monetary economics, quantitative macroeconomics, and consumer credit and payments.
Philadelphia's Retail Payments Department successfully consolidated the check-processing operations of the Richmond Fed's Baltimore office to Philadelphia. The department then completed the move of paper check-processing operations from Philadelphia to Cleveland at year-end, ceasing check-sorting operations after more than 90 years of service. Highspeed printing of image replacement documents and shipping to thousands of endpoints from Virginia to Maine continue.
SRC provided active leadership in the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program (also called stress test). The department also collaborated with staff at the Board of Governors to develop additional questions for the Quinquennial Survey of Finance Companies and supported the Board by providing quarterly briefings on the state of the credit card market. In addition, two SRC officers assumed high-profile assignments and assisted System efforts pertaining to compliance and Treasury issues. Department staff held a series of Directors' Workshops, hosted its annual All-Staff Conference, and organized and hosted the Partnership for Progress annual meeting, "Keeping Minority Institutions Viable." The department provides ongoing leadership for Consumer Compliance Outlook®, a consumer protection publication for the Federal Reserve System, which saw a material rise in subscriptions in 2009.
In 2009, the Bank's Treasury Services Department provided guidance to the Federal Reserve System on collateral management issues and introduced important enhancements to the Collateral Management System, including the daily pricing of collateral holdings. The department also provided leadership in developing requirements for implementation of the Payment System Risk (PSR) policies.