The ten national forums conducted by Fed vice chair Dr. Alice M. Rivlin on the future of the Federal Reserve's role in the retail payments system have wound down. The result: Probably little will change. "We'll be assessing what we've learned over the rest of the summer. I don't know if we'll be issuing a formal report, but we'll be talking with the Board in the fall," says Rivlin. She says that most people want the Fed involved in check clearing and automated clearing house operations. "A large number of the people we spoke to were community bankers, and they're very much opposed" to the Fed opting out of retail clearing operations. Roseland, NJ-based ADP Bank evp Ken Rand agrees, saying that small banks depend on the Fed for cheap clearing operations. "If the Fed got out of the business, it might cause something of a monopoly, and (drive) the price up quite a bit," he says.

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