For the second time in as many months, the Federal Reserve has reduced what it charges commercial banks for electronic funds transfers.

The Fed has lowered the price for funds transfers traveling over its Fed Wire network by 5 cents, to 45 cents per transaction. The Fed also has lowered charges on automated clearing house transactions.

Fed officials said the latest reductions would save the industry $11.3 million a year.

When combined with some price reductions announced in September, the lowered costs should save the industry $18.4 million annually, Fed officials said.

The price cuts take effect Jan. 2.

Ernest T. Patrikis, first vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said the price reductions are a direct result of its multiyear efforts to streamline the way it delivers wholesale electronic payments services.

One of the most significant operational changes made by the Fed was moving the payment operations of all 12 Federal Reserve districts under one roof, in East Rutherford, N.J.

"Over the last five years, we have been consolidating data processing operations so that payments, including funds transfers and ACH, can be processed at central sites," Mr. Patrikis said.

"We hope this is an indication of things to come in the future."

Fees for book-entry security transfers will remain the same for 1997, but price cuts on those transactions are being considered, Fed officials said.

The earlier ACH price reductions were inter-district fees and presorted ACH items.

The new price cuts include a 10% reduction in basic funds transfer fees; a 50% reduction in premium surcharges; a 25% reduction in fees for addenda records, which contain information in financial electronic data interchange formats.

The Fed also has eliminated its $10-per-file discrete/commingled fees.

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