2012 Milestones

Research/Monetary Policy
  • The Atlanta Fed Research Department published 20 working papers on topics ranging from postrecession structural changes in the labor market to the wage impact of undocumented workers, and from the reason people made bad decisions regarding their mortgages during the housing boom to the effect of workers' housing wealth on wage bargaining.
  • The Atlanta Fed held nine major policy and research conferences exploring such timely topics as the employment consequences of the Great Recession, the future of workforce development, U.S.-Mexico economic ties, the "shadow banking" system, money market funds, and mortgage finance.
  • The Regional Economic Information Network (REIN) continued to gather economic intelligence from southeastern business leaders and other sources in the region to help inform monetary policymaking. REIN broadened regional economic inputs by targeting regional universities, professional associations, and women- and minority-owned businesses.
  • Atlanta Fed staff conducted research on the implications of the financial stability of state and local pensions.
  • Researchers deepened the Atlanta Fed's analysis of young, high-growth companies through focus groups and interviews with entrepreneurs. Such firms can be important job generators.
  • A repository of all Federal Reserve research on labor markets and an online "Jobs Calculator" were made available on frbatlanta.org to inform the public about the U.S. economy. The Jobs Calculator enables site visitors to determine the number of jobs needed over time to achieve a target unemployment rate.
Supervision and Regulation
  • The Atlanta Fed's Supervision and Regulation division led Federal Reserve System efforts to complete capital adequacy reviews for certain financial institutions.
  • The Supervision and Regulation division held its annual Banking Outlook Conference in March. More than 200 bankers and regulators addressed a number of questions the banking industry faces. For example, they discussed whether, as the economy improves, banks are finally poised for a turnaround. They also addressed the changing regulatory environment that was reshaped by the Dodd-Frank Act.
  • The Atlanta Fed hosted a banker outreach forum in August. The conference, which was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was designed to stimulate dialogue among bankers on profitability drivers and risk management.
Retail Payments Office/Payments
  • The Federal Reserve System's Retail Payments Office (RPO), headquartered at the Atlanta Fed, completed a four-year technology upgrade to more efficiently and inexpensively process payments for 7,000-plus financial institutions across the nation.
  • Under Atlanta Fed leadership, the Federal Reserve System's check and ACH services nationwide met cost recovery targets in all retail payments processing operations, as required by the Monetary Control Act.
  • In partnership with the Department of the Treasury, the RPO implemented technology to electronically process savings bonds, eliminating one of the last vestiges of paper processing for banks.
  • The Atlanta Fed initiated tools to help prevent fraudulent automated clearinghouse (ACH) and check payments.
  • The Atlanta Fed's Financial Services unit helped the Federal Reserve Bank of New York process $1.3 billion in international payments to customers in the Northeast who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
  • The Federal Reserve System completed the consolidation of paper-check-processing operations, when the last processing site moved to the Atlanta Fed from the Cleveland Fed.
  • The Atlanta Fed's Retail Payments Risk Forum held a major conference on technological innovations in payments. It also published research papers on the regulatory landscape for mobile payments and the experiences of countries that have adopted microchip-enabled payment cards.
Public Outreach
  • The Atlanta Fed launched The Fed Explained, an online feature highlighting animated videos describing economic concepts and the Fed's role in the economy. The video series received several awards, including a Strategic Video Award from content marketing firm McCurry and three Aurora Awards: two Platinum Best of Show awards and one Gold Award.
  • Atlanta Fed President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Lockhart delivered more than two dozen speeches in 2012. Major themes of the speeches included monetary policy in economically challenging times, the complexity and dynamics of labor markets, the economic outlook, and potential sources of financial instability.
  • The Bank's economic and financial education team conducted workshops for teachers from middle and high schools around the Southeast, and made presentations to local, state, and national teacher conferences. Between workshops and presentations, the program reached more than 8,000 teachers, who in turn reached more than 635,000 students.
  • Atlanta Fed-produced podcasts and videocasts covered such topics as the interplay between monetary and fiscal policy, the economic importance of women entrepreneurs, the government's role in housing finance, and the state of the regional, national, and global economies.
  • The Atlanta Fed increased public accessibility to Federal Reserve information by offering more online videos from conferences and presentations by senior leaders.
  • In addition to conferences, Atlanta Fed events included Public Affairs Forums featuring distinguished speakers on entrepreneurship, the economics of health care, the U.S. role in global economic cooperation, and the value of traditional economic statistics.
  • The Atlanta Fed published its first online-only annual report and annual report iPad app.
Corporate Citizenship
  • More than 40 percent of Atlanta Fed employees volunteered through workplace-based programs, contributing 4,200 hours to charities throughout the Southeast. Employees also donated nearly $500,000 to nonprofit organizations through workplace giving programs.
  • The Atlanta Fed won a prestigious Impact Award from the Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta.
  • Forty-six employees served on the boards of directors of 98 nonprofit agencies, most of them focused on education, workplace development, and community building.
  • The Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) submitted to the U.S. Congress the Atlanta Fed's first annual report on progress in meeting requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act pertaining to supplier diversity, workforce diversity, and financial literacy instruction.
  • As part of the Atlanta Fed's effort to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner, the Miami cash processing operation began sending shredded currency to a composting facility that uses it to make landscaping materials. This change will divert 524 tons of waste a year from landfills.
  • The Birmingham and New Orleans branches earned BOMA360 certification, recognizing that the buildings exceed best practices for environmental sustainability, law enforcement, and community outreach.