Federal Reserve to close Charlotte check processing operation, idle 49 workers

Decision to move responsibilities to Atlanta is part of nationwide consolidation, spokesperson says. As more people stop writing checks, demand for services has fallen. Only four out of more than 40 processing centers will remain by end of this year.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is cutting its staff of 359 in Charlotte by more than 10 percent, but the actions are not linked to the current financial crisis and growing global recession.

A total of 49 people who currently work in check processing will lose their jobs on March 20, a Federal Reserve official confirmed Tuesday. However, the cutbacks are not coming as a surprise to the employees involved and are directly linked to changes in consumers’ purchasing habits, Jim Strader told

No other changes have taken place in staffing levels at the Charlotte operation despite the recent economic slowdown “that I am aware of,” Strader added. “People do come and go all the time,” he said. The 359 number reflects the center’s staffing as of Monday.

The parent Federal Reserve system has been consolidating its check processing operations since 2003, and by the end of 2009 there will only be four left of more than 40, Strader said. The Charlotte center’s responsibilities are being transferred to Atlanta.

The Charlotte staff was told in June of 2007 that the jobs would be cut, Strader added.

On Friday, the Federal Reserve filed a formal notice with the state of North Carolina about the jobs transfer.

The action that the Federal Reserve is taking in the notice given to the state of North Carolina is a formality that addresses decisions made over the past five years,” Strader explained.

“The Federal Reserve has been consolidating the number of check processing centers across the country to account for the change in consumer behavior, shifting from checks largely to electronic purchases.”

Since the staff was told, the Federal Reserve Bank in Charlotte has worked with the affected employees, offering them training and other job placement assistance, Strader said.