The Federal Reserve's retail payments office announced that it "fully supports" the most recent push within the banking industry to speed up electronic payments.
Last month, the industry group that establishes the rules for the automated clearing house network, Nacha, revived an effort to settle electronic transactions on the same day they're initiated.
A similar proposal by Nacha in 2012 was voted down by the organization's members, largely because of opposition by the big banks that dominate the group's ranks.
The Fed supported Nacha's earlier proposal, and it's recently begun its own push to modernize the nation's electronic payments system. So it's not a surprise that the Fed is also endorsing Nacha's latest effort.
Still, the Fed's statement could help Nacha as it tries to rally support among its own members. The latest proposal from Nacha calls for a staged implementation, which could help assuage the concerns of some banks about the cost of making the necessary technology upgrades.
In a press release Monday, the Fed's retail payments office said that three-quarters of the respondents to a Fed paper published last year support faster payments. This sentiment "aligns with Nacha's initial steps toward same-day settlement capability," the press release stated.
The Fed runs one of two networks that are used to process ACH transactions. Since 2010, the Fed's network has offered same-day processing, but that service requires banks to opt in, and it has failed to catch on with a broad swath of the banking industry.