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For immediate release: June 26, 2007

Media contacts:
Gloria V. Brown
(214) 922-5266

James Hoard
Phone: (214) 922-5307

Dallas Fed Named Regional Check-Processing Center

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has been selected as the regional check-processing center for the western United States, the Federal Reserve announced today. The move will expand the Dallas Fed's check operations from four states—Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of New Mexico and Louisiana—to 16, including California.

The Federal Reserve currently conducts check-clearing operations at 22 sites. Under the new structure, operations are being consolidated into four Reserve Banks, including Dallas. The other three are Philadelphia, Cleveland and Atlanta.

"Check processing is an important business that the Dallas Fed has been managing and operating efficiently for many years," said Dallas Fed President and CEO Richard Fisher. "We are fortunate to have the services of a skilled, experienced and innovative management team whose excellence has been recognized by this consolidation move. We look forward to extending to a broader group of institutions the same high-quality check-processing service our team is known for."

The enhanced Dallas Fed check-processing center will serve 12 states currently serviced by the Kansas City, San Francisco and Minneapolis Feds. These sites process nearly 1.5 billion checks annually worth about $2.2 trillion. Last year the Dallas Fed processed approximately 940 million checks worth about a trillion dollars.

"This consolidation is important to support Texas' growing and dynamic economy," said Dick Evans, chairman and CEO of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. and a Dallas Fed director. "The speed and settlement of items are important to all businesses and banks, and I believe the Dallas Fed payments center will provide excellent customer service."

The Federal Reserve operates the nation's largest interbank check-clearing business. Last year the Reserve Banks handled more than 10 billion paper and electronic checks.

The banking industry is rapidly embracing electronic check-processing technologies; the Federal Reserve's goal is to drive a market evolution away from paper-based check processing to safer, more efficient electronic forms of payment.

"We encourage the use of electronic payments and work closely with depository institutions to encourage migration toward electronic payments," said Helen Holcomb, Dallas Fed first vice president and COO. "At the same time, we will remain innovative and efficient with regional check-processing operations."