The U.S. Payment System: Efficiency, Risk and the Role of the Federal Reserve
The U.S. payment system is in the midst of a significant transition. Some of the changes to our payment system, involving its efficiency, the risks inherent in the payment process, and the role of the private and public sectors in the payment mechanism, are the subject of considerable debate and controversy. In recent years, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond has played an active part in the development and implementation of policies to improve the payment process. The Bank's operations staff has represented the Federal Reserve System in work with the banking industry to help shape and implement programs to increase efficiency and reduce payment risk. Further, our Research Department has made payment system research an important part of its agenda. The mix of practical experience and research has resulted in a unique perspective on payment system issues that led us to organize a symposium on the U.S. payment system, held on May 25-26, 1988, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Reflecting our belief in the importance of combining both practical experience and theory in addressing payment issues, we invited practi tioners, scholars, and policymakers to share their ideas. The symposium provided an opportunity for those researchers who are studying p- xi PREFACE xii ment issues to present their ideas and to have these ideas evaluated by experienced practitioners.