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ICBA Statement on Federal Reserve Plan to Reduce Paper Check Processing Operations

Washington, D.C. (June 26, 2007)—Camden Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), issued the following statement on the Federal Reserve Banks' announcement of their long-range strategy for further downsizing their paper check processing infrastructure in response to declining paper check processing volumes.

"Today's announcement sends a clear message to financial institutions of all sizes and types that now is the time to implement check image clearing. Procrastination will yield only increased item processing fees, exorbitant transportation fees, and compressed cash letter delivery and pickup schedules.

"Community banks are implementing check image clearing and settlement at an unprecedented rate. According to preliminary results from ICBA's 2007 Community Bank Payments Survey, almost 90 percent of respondents will be using image check clearing by 2009. Forty-five percent of respondents currently deposit image cash letters, and another 43 percent plan to do so within two years. Forty-two percent of respondents currently receive image cash letters and another 44 percent plan to do so within two years.

"ICBA welcomes the Federal Reserve System's continued commitment to offering check processing services. We look forward to working with the Federal Reserve Banks and assisting community banks in preparing for and responding to these changes."

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