The Federal Reserve System's retail payments office is headed south.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is to take over that responsibility from the Boston Fed this summer.

Other supervisory posts related to payment processing will be filled by the Cleveland Fed.

The Boston Fed has overseen the retail payments office for the past four years, but the central bank wanted to spread its committee responsibilities around. This year the Boston bank took over the Financial Services Policy Committee when Boston Fed President Cathy E. Minehan succeeded Thomas Melzer as head of that committee. Mr. Melzer retired as president of the St. Louis Fed.

"We felt we could commit more resources to management of the Federal Reserve's overall payment services and retail payment services by locating them in two different places," said Boston Fed Senior Vice President Sarah G. Green, the retail payment product manager.

Patrick K. Barron, first vice president and chief operating officer in Atlanta, is to become the retail payment office's product director, taking over from Boston Fed First Vice President Paul Connolly.

Mr. Connolly's new responsibilities will include overseeing the Federal Reserve banks' technology upgrading to ensure year-2000 compliance.

The retail payments office oversees check and automated clearing house services. It also works cooperatively with private-sector institutions on improving payment system efficiency and effectiveness.

The office will continue turning to technology-such as the Internet and desktop computers-to deliver products and services more efficiently, said Mr. Barron.

Richard Oliver, senior vice president in Atlanta, will be the new product manager. Frederick Herr, senior vice president at the Atlanta bank, will oversee check product development.

Sandra Pianalto, first vice president in Cleveland, will work on strategic planning and check-processing software management. Cleveland Fed vice presidents Robert Price and Terry Roth will work in check operations and product development, respectively.

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