Federal Reserve issues proposal to publish list of banks that have access to Fed accounts

The Federal Reserve Board is seeking public comment on a proposal to publish a periodic list of depository institutions that have access to Federal Reserve accounts and payment services.

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The longstanding practice of the Federal Reserve has been to not disclose this type of account-related information to the general public as it is considered confidential business information. However, the publication of the Account Access Guidelines prompted the Federal Reserve Board to consider the potential benefits of expanding the disclosure of the names of institutions that have access to master accounts and services.

As a result, the Board has decided to reevaluate the Federal Reserve’s current disclosure practices and develop an account disclosure process to balance the relevant benefits and risks. In August, the Board adopted final guidelines that establish a transparent, risk-based, and consistent set of factors for Reserve Banks to use in reviewing requests to access these accounts and payment services. The proposal issued this week would build on the transparency of the guidelines by requiring Reserve Banks to periodically disclose which depository institutions have access to their accounts and payment services.

“Today’s proposal will enhance transparency to the public by periodically publishing a comprehensive list of financial institutions that have access to Federal Reserve accounts and payment services,” Vice Chair Lael Brainard said. “I look forward to getting feedback on this proposal for enhanced transparency.”

Comments will be accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.