Which federal agency oversees a daily cash flow of $89 billion, disbursing more than $1.6 trillion in non-defense payments each year and collecting more than $3 trillion annually—which makes it responsible for administering the world’s largest collection system? The Financial Management Service (FMS), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, performs many of the cash management functions that were delegated to Treasury when Congress created the department in 1789. It provides central payment services to federal agencies, operates the federal government’s collections and deposit systems, provides governmentwide accounting and reporting services, and manages the collection of delinquent debt owed to the federal government. It also supports federal agencies’ efforts to improve their financial management systems through education, consulting and accounting operations.
FMS has headquarters offices at two locations in the National Capital Region: in the Liberty Center Building at 401 14th Street, S.W., in Washington, D.C., and in the Metro Center II Building at 3700 East West Highway in Hyattsville, Md. Two-thirds of the agency’s roughly 1,900 employees work in one of those locations; most of the remaining employees are based in one of three regional financial centers (RFCs) in Kansas City, Mo.; Philadelphia; and San Francisco and two debt collection centers in Austin, Tx. and Birmingham, Ala. The RFCs issue payments by electronic funds transfer and paper checks; the debt collection centers collect debts older than 180 days on behalf of federal agencies.
President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposes consolidating FMS and the Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD) into a single organization (with a budget of $308 million), to be called the Fiscal Service. This plan is meant to enable the Fiscal Service to achieve greater operational and administrative efficiencies by combining the two agencies’ resources.