If you are like many Americans, you are no longer writing out as many monthly checks and sending those checks through the mail. Americans’ use of internet banking, debit cards, and computers to handle financial transactions is changing the banking industry and how the federal government handles the processing of checks.
The rate of change is substantial. About 50 billion checks were written in 1995. That declined to 42 billion by 2000. The decline in check writing is continuing as 7 percent fewer checks were written in 2003. The Federal Reserve says the move away from uses of paper checks is accelerating.
The changes also mean that some federal employees are losing their jobs. The Federal Reserve is closing some of its centers that process the handling of checks. About 270 positions are being cut. This is about six percent of the staff that handles the check processing load.
In the offices where check processing is to be eliminated, about 640 positions will be affected. Some staff reductions are likely to occur through attrition and some employees may be reassigned. In addition, the Reserve Banks estimate that they will add about 370 positions at the offices that will continue processing checks.
Offices are affected as follows:
|Closing Boston, Mass.||Moving to Windsor Locks, Conn.|
|Closing Columbus, Ohio||Moving to Cleveland, Ohio|
|Closing Birmingham, Ala.||Moving to Atlanta, Ga.|
|Closing Nashville, Tenn.||Moving to Atlanta, Ga.|
|Closing Detroit, Mich.||Moving to Cleveland, Ohio|
|Closing Oklahoma City, Okla.||Moving to Dallas, Texas|
|Closing Houston, Texas||Moving to Dallas, Texas|
|Closing Portland, Ore.||Moving to Seattle, Wash.|
|Closing Salt Lake City, Utah||Moving to Denver, Colo.|
These changes by the Reserve Banks are the result of restructuring the check operations by reducing the number of facilities from 45 to 32 sites by the end of 2004. The number of sites will be cut to 23 by early 2006.
The agency will be offering programs to help those employees who are affected by the loss of jobs and change of assignments. These programs will include separation packages, extended medical coverage and career transition assistance.