The Electronic Payments Association will present its 2006 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award to Roger Ferguson, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, who is completing his service to the Federal Reserve and the U.S. payments system on April 28, 2006.
The award is named after one of Ferguson's predecessors as Vice Chairman -George W. Mitchell - who was one of this country's earliest proponents of electronic payments.
"During his eight-and-a-half years on the Federal Reserve Board and five- and-half-years as Vice Chairman, Roger Ferguson has been enormously instrumental in guiding the payments systems through potential and real crises, and in creating a regulatory environment that is conducive to innovation," said Elliott C. McEntee, President and CEO of NACHA. "It is a great honor for NACHA to present the 2006 George Mitchell Payments System Excellence Award to Roger Ferguson."
From July 1998 through March 2000, Dr. Ferguson chaired the Joint Year 2000 Council that addressed issues associated with the Year 2000 computer challenge within the global financial supervisory community.
As the only member of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, Dr. Ferguson found himself at the helm of the U.S. central bank. Not only did the Fed provide the services and the access to capital that financial institutions needed in the aftermath, but the simple yet brilliant statement - "The Federal Reserve System is open and operating. The discount window is available to meet liquidity needs." - provided the confidence that the nation needed that our financial system would remain operating.
"These episodes demonstrate the important role of the payments system in our nation's financial stability, as well as the importance of institutions like the Federal Reserve and leaders like Roger Ferguson in ensuring the readiness of the payments system," said McEntee.
"Dr. Ferguson's other payments system legacy at the Federal Reserve is that of working to reduce and eliminate barriers to innovation in the payments system. After 9/11, the Fed championed the Check 21 legislation in Congress. As a regulator of the payments system, the Fed has enabled a culture of innovation in the private sector, of which electronic check processing is an excellent example."