The nation’s central bank on Friday published a database of financial institutions that have, or have sought, access to Federal Reserve Bank master accounts and services – not under a final regulation but under a revision last year in the Federal Reserve Act.
The Federal Reserve Board published the database along with a set of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about master accounts and services, factors the Fed evaluates in granting access, and explanations of what is in the database itself.
The Fed said the database will be updated on a quarterly basis.
The database published Friday is similar to what the Fed Board proposed to do last November, but that rulemaking was superseded by a Federal Reserve Act revision made through the fiscal 2023 James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Fed, in a memo explaining the change, said the NDAA added a new section 11C to the Federal Reserve Act with disclosure requirements that “substantially supplant” the Fed Board’s proposal to incorporate a disclosure requirement into the Account Access Guidelines. The Fed has therefore withdrawn its proposal.
A master account, the Fed noted, is an account in which a Reserve Bank receives deposits for a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union. “The Reserve Banks provide financial services to financial institutions much like those that banks and credit unions provide to their customers,” it said. “These services include collecting checks, electronically transferring funds, and distributing and receiving cash and coin.”
It said the database has two components. The first includes financial institutions that currently have access to Reserve Bank master accounts and services. The second includes financial institutions that have requested access to master accounts and services after Dec. 23, 2022, or had a request pending on that date, as well as the status of each request.
The FAQs also reference the Fed’s Account Access Guidelines, published in final form last August. It said the guidelines include a tiered review framework to provide additional clarity on the level of due diligence and scrutiny that Reserve Banks will apply to different types of institutions with varying degrees of risk. “For example, institutions with federal deposit insurance would be subject to a more streamlined level of review, while institutions that engage in novel activities and for which authorities are still developing appropriate supervisory and regulatory frameworks would undergo a more extensive review,” it said.