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General Lockbox Network (GLN)

Financial Institutions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Financial Agent Selection Process (FASP)


Overview

Phase 1 Questions

Phase 2 Questions

PDF Version


Overview

What is a FASP?

F-A-S-P is the acronym for Financial Agent Selection Process.

What is a Financial Agent?

Treasury has the authority to designate financial institutions(s) as financial agents of the government to provide services on its behalf. Financial agents act on behalf of the government in performing their duties under a relationship with the Treasury (Fiscal Service).

What is an SRS?

It’s called Statement of Required Services. It’s a replacement for the Statement of Work (SOW).

Does an interested Financial Institution have to RSVP for the initial information session?

Yes.  Fiscal Service asks those financial institutions interested in attending the GLN FASP information session #1 to RSVP with the number and names of attendees.   The RSVP should be sent to FI.Lockbox@Fiscal.Treasury.Gov by June 9, 2016. 

Note:  We can only accommodate a maximum of 3 people per financial institution.

Can Respondent FIs submit their initial proposal via e-mail?

No. Respondent FIs must send initial proposals according to the requirements specified in Section VI. “Submitting Proposals in the Solicitation”.

What is the relationship a Financial Agent has with the Fiscal Service?

A Financial Agent (FA) of the United States has a principal-agent relationship with the Fiscal Service and not an arm's length contractor relationship.

As such, the Financial Agent will have a fiduciary responsibility to the Fiscal Service, including a duty of loyalty and fair dealing. The Financial Agent will have a responsibility to act in the best interests of the United States and the Fiscal Service will expect full transparency in all dealings with the Financial Agent, including all communications and pricing.

Is the Fiscal Service expected to select one (1) financial agent for the General Lockbox Service?

Yes, the Fiscal Service intends on consolidating the number of Financial Agents providing GLN services to one (1), with two (2) processing sites.

How is the term redundancy defined by Fiscal Service for this FASP?

Redundancy means providing services, equipment, and contingency across two processing sites. In addition, the sites must have the scalability to increase or decrease volumes as needed during the life of the Financial Agent Agreement.

What are the expectations of the Fiscal Service with respect to customer relationship and service for the General Lockbox business?

The FASP will be used to identify respondents committed to GLN success through a dedicated support team. GLN support provided by the selected Fiscal Agent (FA) shall include identifying methods to streamline the lockbox process or present opportunities to implement new technology.

The FA is required to provide support and rapid response in all areas of the General Lockbox business including, but not limited to operations, IT, customer service, and change requests. The FA will support all aspects of agency customer care and will designate customer service liaison(s) to receive all customer service inquiries / requests and provide research services and program support. The customer service hours for each lockbox site are Monday to Friday from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm ET to receive agency customer service requests.

Where can I find more information about the GLN information technology requirements?

The second information session will provide further details on the information technology requirements for the GLN.

When and where will the physical and personnel security requirements be available for the GLN?

The second information session will provide further details about the physical and personnel security requirements.

What will be discussed during the initial information session?

The information session #1 is intended to provide an overview of the General Lockbox FASP including the timeline, what your responses should include in each phase, and what it means to be a Treasury designated Financial Agent, as well as presentations about the Treasury GLN systems interfaces.

Has a transition timeline been determined? If so what is it?

The transition timeline is contingent upon the completion of negotiations for the Financial Agent Selection Process.


Questions about the General Lockbox Network (GLN) - Phase 1

Could you explain the benefit of becoming a member of the GLN?

As a designated Financial Agent of the United States Treasury, compensation is based on negotiated pricing between the Financial Agent and U.S. Government.

I am seeking clarification of the following requirements of this RFP:

(a) Can you provide a better definition of what you consider to be "geographically dispersed processing sites" (e.g. minimum miles apart or any other minimum criteria?

(b) You reference a contract start date of August 1, 2016. I understand this could change based on negotiations but when are you expecting the selected vendor to being processing mail payments (i.e. on contract start date or a point thereafter)?

  • (a) The Federal Government expects two (2) fully redundant sites be established. The sites have to be sufficiently apart to process work separately for contingency purposes. Contingency may mean severe weather conditions, power outages, etc.
  • (b) The start date is subject to negotiation and transition.

We are always interested in enhancing our non-interest income. The info really doesn't get into any of the specifics. Is this regional? What volume is expected? This would help in determining if we have the staff or if we need to ramp up to handle this program. Is there specific software that you require? Specific reports? Last but not least how much income could expect by providing this service?

The GLN is a national federal government program. Please refer to the Financial Agent Solicitation for the General Lockbox Network for more specific information about the program. The Solicitation may be found at the General Lockbox home page.

What is the primary basis for bidding a two site configuration?

Please refer to the Financial Agent Solicitation for the General Lockbox Network, specifically Section II.B. “Objectives”.

Will you please confirm that both sites are required for daily payment processing (i.e. cash flows processed at both sites versus a primary processing site/contingency hot site configuration)?

Yes. Both sites are required for daily processing.

Is there an opportunity for a bidder to present a single site solution provided it addresses the key requirements, such as contingency?

Bidders may submit different solutions, but decisions will be based on established set evaluation criteria.

Will Fiscal Service establish a baseline transition cost? If so, how will Fiscal Service factor this cost in the selection process?

No. Fiscal Service will not establish a baseline transition cost. All costs will be negotiated. Please refer to the Financial Agent Solicitation Section VII. Evaluation Process, Phase 2.

Will the GLN include cash flows that require HIPAA compliance? Is so, will Fiscal Service please review those requirements during the initial information sharing session?

Yes, the GLN will include cash flows that require HIPAA compliance in the Phase 2 Information Session.

Due to constraints of the USPS holiday processing, is it permissible to run reduced capacity on Federal Holidays?

The Financial Agent is expected to allocate sufficient resources to accommodate volumes during and subsequent to Federal Holidays. Each lockbox site is expected to be open 362 days a year and operation will be based on Continental United States time zones.

Does GLN mail have to be physically & logically separated from any other mail at all stages of lockbox processing from pick up at the USPS to cash letter creation?

Yes. The GLN mail must be physically separated and may not be comingled with corporate work. There must be a stand-alone facility with unique set of security requirements as outlined by the Fiscal Service Lockbox Security Guidelines.

What happens to the agencies current lockboxes? Will those Financial Agents be forwarding mail to the new provider?

The current Financial Agents will continue to process the agency’s mail until the new Financial Agent is in a position to assume the workload. The transfer of the current lockboxes is contingent upon the new Financial Agent’s ability to adapt to the technical, processing, and security requirements outlined by the Fiscal Service to begin processing the GLN work.

How many of the agencies are getting file outputs from the Financial Agent? Do you have any specific details about those files?

Federal agencies are receiving daily file outputs from the current Financial Agents. Specific details about those files will be available in the Phase 2 Information Session.

Can you provide additional details about the daily/monthly reporting requirements from the Financial Agent to Fiscal Service?

The Financial Agent is to provide the highest standards of performance and quality, and must perform ongoing daily quality control reviews of work in progress. Please refer to the solicitation Section III. C. Service Level Requirements for additional information about the required reporting.

Can you provide additional details around the Pay.gov interface, any information on file specs, timing requirements, transmission protocols, etc..?

An overview and technical information about the Treasury Systems Interfaces, including Pay.gov will be available at the Phase 1 Information Session scheduled for June 17, 2016.

Is there information on the originating zip codes for those checks being received today that would assist the Financial Agent in determining the optimal site locations?

Fiscal Service has not performed a recent mail study.

Given the meeting scheduled for June 17 and the Independence Day holiday between now and the due date, would you consider extending the deadline in order to allow us to provide a thorough response based on findings from the June 17 discussion?

Fiscal Service will not modify the initial proposal due date.

When will the Fiscal Service publish the dates identified as “TBD” on the Evaluation Timeline?

The dates identified “TBD” will be determined after the initial proposals from the financial institutions are received.

Of the current 189 lockboxes identified, how many are retail and how many are wholesale?

There are 20 retail and 169 wholesale cash flows.

What is Fiscal Service’s retail and wholesale lockbox volume forecast for the next 5 years? Can this detail be provided by agency lockbox?

The Fiscal Service is not in a position to guarantee specific volumes of work. However, the strategy of the Fiscal Service is to convert transactions arriving through the mail channel to Treasury offered electronic collection methods.

Is there a current or anticipated strategy to require payees with large dollar obligations to make the scheduled payments electronically rather than by a mailed payment to the lockbox? If there is such a requirement what is the dollar threshold?

One of our strategic goals is an all-electronic Treasury in terms of revenue collections. We have an entire group dedicated to converting paper to electronic transactions. Fiscal Service does not have an approved strategy to require remitters to submit large payment transactions electronically at this time. The Fiscal Service does encourage federal government agencies to inform their remitters to submit large dollar transactions utilizing Treasury’s electronic options.

What is the current trend in conversion from paper payments to electronic payments?

The long term strategy of the Fiscal Service is to convert paper transactions to electronic collection methods. Therefore, new requests to open lockboxes are analyzed to determine if electronic collection methods are an option. The Fiscal Service’s Agency Relationship Management and e-Collections Divisions are collaborating with federal government agencies to convert cash flows to electronic collections.

What is the current trend in the use of credit cards as the payment mechanism?

Total Credit card transaction volumes as follow for FY14 and FY15:

FY13 1,825,501
FY14 1,239,777
FY15 1,303,867

Can Fiscal Service provide information on the number of retail and wholesale lockboxes where the remittance form includes a section for a payer to enter his or her credit card number to make a payment using that method instead of by check, and the approximate percentage of credit card vs. check payments?

In FY2015 approximately 4% of the transactions processed through the GLN were card related and 96% involved check or money orders.

Under Section IV – Security Requirements, Fiscal Service indicates the Financial Agent must meet all applicable Federal government requirements for various types of security, including systems security. Does Fiscal Service expect that it will require the FA to obtain FISMA-level security certification on the lockbox platform(s) including development of the entire Certification and Accreditation package for such certification? If so, will Fiscal Service pay for the costs of any third parties required to perform this type of certification?

Fiscal Service will provide information about the Security Requirements in the Phase 2 Information Session. Please refer to the GLN FASP Solicitation, Section VII. Phase 2.

What are the physical and technological security requirements for the retail and wholesale processing platforms the bank would use to process remittances?

Please refer to “Section IV- Security Requirements” in the GLN FASP Solicitation. The Fiscal Service will provide additional information about the Security Requirements in the Phase 2 Information Session.

We understand that individual agencies have differing needs in a wholesale lockbox delivery. Will Fiscal Service specifically identify processes within the wholesale delivery that will be considered “standard” versus “exception” or “supplemental”?

The categorization of services on the pricing schedule as reimbursable and non-reimbursable is an internal Fiscal Service decision. The relationship between the Federal agency and Fiscal Service is documented in an Inter-Agency Agreement between the two parties.

Will “exception” or “supplemental” processing be paid for by Fiscal Service or by the Agency directly?

The categorization of services on the pricing schedule as reimbursable and non-reimbursable is an internal Fiscal Service decision. The relationship between the federal agency and Fiscal Service is documented in an Inter-Agency Agreement between the two parties.

For each agency that uses a window envelope, what percentage of payments are submitted in the window envelope (by agency lockbox)?

Information about the individual retail and wholesale cash flows, including the Statement of Required Services, will be provided to the finalists in the Phase 2 Information Session.

What percentage of payments are single coupon/single check (by agency lockbox)?

We estimate the volume to be approximately 75%.

Can Fiscal Service provide a sanitized copy of your remittance documents?

Information about the individual retail and wholesale cash flows, including the Statement of Required Services (SRS), will be provided to the finalists in the Phase 2 Information Session.

What percentage of volume is processed with a system readable coupon (scannable)?

We estimate the volume to be approximately 75%.

Which lockboxes experience peak periods where payment volume spikes to double the average daily processing count? What are the peaks (by agency lockbox)?

Information about the individual retail and wholesale cash flows, including the Statement of Required Services, will be provided to the finalists in the Phase 2 Information Session.

What percentage of payments are received without a coupon (Check Only)?

The total number of retail checks processed without a coupon in FY15 was 24.9%.

Do any lockboxes require a stop file or positive pay file? Please identify an applicable lockboxes specifically.

Yes. Detailed information regarding individual retail and wholesale cash flows, including the Statement of Required Services, will be provided to the finalists in the Phase 2 Information Session.

Can Fiscal Service provide a sample of the scannable document and the associated envelope for the retail lockbox cash flows?

Yes. Information about the individual retail and wholesale cash flows, including the Statement of Required Services, will be provided to the finalists in the Phase 2 Information Session.

Do you require any exception process requirements that require access to Government Systems?

Yes. Some cash flows may require keying into an agency system, including data validation and the ability to perfect those items that can’t be processed. The details are outlined in the agency Statement of Required Services (SRS) which will be provided in Phase 2

Provide current provider information for each agency/program, processing facility location (City and State), and financial agent status?

The current facility locations are Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; Newark, Delaware; and Torrance, CA. Additional questions about the current GLN program may be addressed in the Phase 2 Information Session.

What are Fiscal Services' future plans for these agency cash flows? Is Fiscal Service actively migrating these cash flows to online payment channels (Pay.gov).

Treasury’s long-stated strategic goal is all-electronic collections, and the Fiscal Service is actively working toward this goal. Absent a mandate or other significant action, the Fiscal Service expects to see volume decrease over time.

Do all retail items utilize scanlines?

Yes

What does interaction with agency internal systems mean?
  • Call out for validations?
  • Ability to perfect unprocesseables (similar to decision manager?)

Some cash flows may require keying into an Agency system, including data validation and ability to perfect those items that can’t be processed. The details are outlined in the Agency Statement of Required Services (SRS).

Can appendices be included in addition to the 20 page submission limit?

No. Please refer to Section VI. Submitting Proposals section of the GLN FASP Solicitation.

Can you please provide a draft of the transmittal letter and confirm it is not included in the page limit?

No. Please refer to Section VI. Submitting Proposals, Format Specifications of the GLN FASP Solicitation.

Please clarify the statement “duty of loyalty and fair dealing”.

The Financial Institution selected to be the Financial Agent of the United States will have fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the Fiscal Service. These duties must be observed: loyalty, fair dealing, to act in the best interests of the Government, to perform its obligations with care, competence, and diligence, and to construe the Financial Agent Agreement in a reasonable manner to serve the purposes and interests of the United States.

Please provide a sample copy of the financial agent agreement for the General Lockbox Network for review. What is the anticipated date the agreement would be signed and the agency meetings/conversions would begin? What is the expectation of the Bureau of Fiscal Service to complete the conversion process?

Please refer to the following sections of the GLN FASP Solicitation: Section VI. Submitting Proposals Section VII. Evaluation Process

If a financial agent proposes to use 3rd party contractors to assist in providing the required services, what supervision or oversight will the Bureau of Fiscal Service require from the financial agent?

The Bureau of the Fiscal Service enters in a Financial Agent Agreement with a financial institution. Once the financial institution signs the agreement, they become a designated Financial Agent of the United States. The Financial Agent may elect to use a 3rd party contractor; however, that obligation and relationship is directly between the Financial Agent and the 3rd party. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will hold the Financial Agent accountable for all processing requirements as outlined in the Financial Agent Agreement.

Is it possible the Bureau of Fiscal Service will chose one financial agent for wholesale processing and one financial agent for retail processing vs. one financial agent overall?

No. Please refer to Section I. Introduction and Section II. Background of the GLN FASP Solicitation.

As part of the financial agent selection process will the Bureau of Fiscal Service evaluation team schedule site visits and tours of processing facilities?

Fiscal Service Security will inspect and need to approve any potential Lockbox sites. The Evaluation Team reserves the right to visit potential sites.

Are remittances for these agency cash flows received in agency locations in addition to the lockbox locations? Should those remittances be included in the lockbox workflows? How are they handled and deposited today?

All checks and remittances for agency cash flows are received by the current Financial Agent assigned.

Do any of the agency cash flows experience seasonal or periodic volume fluctuations, and if so, please provide details on the volumes and peak and low periods. This is to understand staffing impacts.

Yes. Additional information will be provided in the Phase 2 Information Session.

May we have a listing of the agencies and volumes of each?

Yes. The listing of agencies and volumes for FY 15 will be provided in the Phase 2 Information Session.

May we obtain a ranking of agencies by volume?

Finalists that advance to the Phase 2 Information Session will be provided with Statement of Required Services (SRS) documentation and volume information.

Is each GLN agency cash flow a separate lockbox at one of the 3 Financial Agent?

Yes. Each GLN agency cash flow is a separate lockbox.

Are we able to review the Statements of Required Services for the existing individual agency cash flows?

Yes. The Statement of Required Services (SRS) documentation will be provided in the Phase 2 Information Session. Please refer to Section VII of the GLN FASP Solicitation.

Can we review samples of payments that are typically received in each agency cash flow?

The Statement of Required Services (SRS) documentation will include Remittance information in the Phase 2 Information Session.

Do any of the agency cash flows use multiple lockbox sites, with their remittances being processed in more than one of the 3 Financial Agent locations?

Yes, some agencies utilize more than one lockbox facility.

Do any agency cash flows have combined retail and/or wholesale lockbox remittances that are mailed to one PO box?

No. There are no combined retail and wholesale remittances arriving to one post office box/lockbox.

Please provide additional information on the Electronic Check Processing (ECP) system to be used for deposit preparation, information storage, reporting and settlement of funds.

Please refer to Section III. E. Systems Interfaces in the GLN FASP Solicitation. The GLN FASP Phase 1 Information Session provided additional information. See the presentation materials. Additional information will be provided via e-mail to Phase 2 participants.

Retail Lockbox – is remittance data transmitted or retrieved by the agency each business day? How often is there a requirement to retransmit files?

Yes. The Financial Agent is required to submit daily data files to Electronic Check Processing (ECP) for deposit and settlement for both retail and wholesale lockboxes. Agencies have access to ECP to pull reports of their payment information. In addition, agencies, if outlined in the Statement of Required Services (SRS), will receive a daily Accounts Receivable file containing their Agency’s remittance and deposit data. The retransmission of files is only required if there are systems failures.

Wholesale Lockbox – please provide examples of sorting rules in place today. Is there a limit on the number of sorts the Bureau of Fiscal Service will compensate the financial agent to process vs. what the program agency requires?

The Statement of Required Services (SRS) documentation outlines the SRS technical and processing requirements for each individual agency cash flow. All approved processing expenses are reimbursed by Fiscal Service.

Please provide several examples of where the Bureau of Fiscal Service believes the Financial Agent may standardize procedures and operations for the various cash flows in order to optimize efficiency and cost savings while the 66 federal agencies have different remitter bases, A/R systems and processing requirements.

Fiscal Service expects Financial Agents to use their lockbox processing expertise to offer options for improving standard procedures and operations.

As a part of the effort toward “Standardization and Operational Efficiencies”, would the remittances received into the Retail Lockbox workflow be able to share a common coupon format to allow these to be comingled and processed in a consolidated work stream, with the depository and accounts receivable information separated systemically after processing?

Without committing Fiscal service or federal agencies to any course of action, Fiscal Service is open to exploring new methods of processing. Fiscal Service expects Financial Agents to use their lockbox processing expertise to offer options for improving standard procedures and operations.

Do the Statement of Required Services (SRS) or GLN require lockbox processing environments to be separate from the existing corporate lockbox processing environments that we currently have today?

Yes, separate and physically separated.

Are credit card payments included on the agency cash flow remittance coupon?

Yes, in some cases additional information will be available on the Statement of Required Services (SRS) documents.

Is the expectation that this staff be exclusive to the GLN work?

No, however the Financial Agent must follow personnel security requirements to be discussed in Phase 2.

System Interface Electronic Check Processing – Is there a defined number of items that comprises a batch?

Yes.  There are limitations depending on the type of file being sent.  The limits for each specific file are:

File Name Size Limitation
Item File Max 50,000 Records/File
Check Image File Max 1 GB/File
Remittance Document Image File Max 1 GB/File
Remittance Document Information (UDD) File Max 60,000 items or 1GB. 128 udf’s, each field max 256 characters
Relationship File Max 100,000 items

Are all collected check payments cleared as Electronic Check Processing (ECP) items? Are any check payments converted to ACH ARC SEC items?

ECP does not technically "clear" payments. When the check information is sent to ECP, ECP passes the check information on in either ACH or Check21 format for settlement at Treasury's Settlement mechanism, known as the Debit Gateway.

Are the agencies interested in the ability to log in to the lockbox system to review exceptions and make decisions on the disposition of said exceptions?

Yes, we believe that some agencies will be interested in this functionality.

Please provide additional details about the possibility of a “Hub and Spoke” configuration?

We have recently formally introduced the concept and it has not yet entered our governance process. If approved and we elect to go forward, we would not expect to begin implementation until the final years of our Financial Agency Agreement term. The basic idea is to consolidate business rules and data from electronic and paper forms at a "Hub" residing on a Treasury platform. The lockbox front end -- extraction, document processing, and data capture -- would interact with the "Hub" but would be performed at a financial agent "Spoke" facility.

Do any agency Statement of Required Services documents require HIPAA compliant processing workspaces?

Yes, some agencies require HIPAA compliance.

Please provide a comprehensive list of all security requirements for the GLN.

Security requirements are part of Phase 2.

Please provide the details of the applicable Federal government security requirements?

Security requirements are part of Phase 2.

Where are the GLN sites currently located?

Torrance CA, Newark DE, St Louis MO and Atlanta GA

Which sites currently process wholesale work? Retail work?

Torrance CA - Wholesale; Newark DE - Wholesale; St Louis MO - Mix (mostly Wholesale); Atlanta GA - Mix (mostly Retail).

When will the Statement of Required Services (SRS) documents be available for review?

The SRS documents will be available during phase 2 of the FASP.

Will the retail work have window envelopes? Will it be scannable?

Not all retail work has window envelopes. All retail work is scannable.

Does 189 cash flows equal to 189 lockboxes?

A large majority of GLN cash flows are linked to a specific lockbox, creating a one-to-one relationship.

Are Treasury and the agencies open to standardizing their processes?

Yes

With 66 agencies, do many agencies have multiple lockboxes? If so, how are they split?

Yes, some of the agencies have multiple lockboxes, however the way that they are split varies. For example, an agency may have a mix of retail and wholesale work.

Do HIPAA rules apply to some cash flows? If so, can you provide more information regarding the HIPAA cash flows?

Yes, HIPAA rules apply to some of the cash flows. Information regarding HIPAA cash flows will be available during Phase 2 of the FASP.

Can the commercial work be comingled with other government work?

No, commercial and government work cannot be commingled and must be physically separated and segregated.

Will the incumbent bank provide assistance and training during the transition?

Yes

Will the banks need to provide a transition plan?

Yes. Transition plans are a requirement in Phase 2.

What is the timeline for transitioning the business to the new Fiscal Agent?

We would like to complete the transition within 18 – 24 months.

When will the new Fiscal Agent (FA) be announced?

Fiscal Service anticipates that the new FA will be announced in the fall of 2016.

Will we be expanding the number of Fiscal Agent (FA) representatives for the 2nd round?

Yes. We will provide a facility that can accommodate additional Financial Institution (FI) representatives.

Will Fiscal Service be open to suggestions for standardizing work in phase 2?

Yes

What total resources are dedicated across all GLN work?

There are approximately 300 dedicated FTE resources across the GLN.

Will we provide data capture requirements in phase 2?

Yes.

What are the processing requirements for Federal holidays?

Our expectation is the new sites would be operational 362 days a year (Closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). However we would consider other proposals that have a strong rationale.

What happens if the post office is closed on Federal holidays?

Our expectation is the new sites would be operational 362 days a year (Closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). However we would consider other proposals that have a strong rationale. We suggest this is a topic of discussion with the proposed site’s post office.

What are the work hours during holidays?

Our expectation is the new sites would be operational 362 days a year (Closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). However we would consider other proposals that have a strong rationale.

What types of customer service calls can we expect to facilitate?

Customer service calls will come primarily from agencies and Fiscal Service, however remitters may also call on occasion. Calls from remitters should be routed to the appropriate agency contact. Calls from Congress or the News media should be directed the Fiscal Service Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.

How often do agencies change coupon / document formats?

Infrequently. When coupons or documents change is based on Federal mandates, the changes are usually known well in advance.

In Electronic Check Processing (ECP), does every agency have its own transmission file? Will each file be transmitted individually?

No. Technically each agency does not have its own transmission file. Each agency has a unique identifier (ALC+2) with its own unique batches. Our Fiscal Agents currently send one transmission file per agency which contains all of the batches for that Agency.

In Electronic Check Processing, how many User Defined Data (UDD) fields are available to Agencies? How are they used?

Each agency has access to 24 usable UDD fields (4 are searchable). The fields are used to capture specific remittance data required by the agency (name, account number, etc.). Each UDD field is customizable.

Can Electronic Check Processing (ECP) files be held beyond the daily processing deadline?

No. Files should not be submitted to ECP past the scheduled deadlines. Extensions can be requested if additional time is required to complete the daily work.

Does every cash flow offer a Pay.Gov credit card payment option?

No. Currently 15 cash flows offer the option to pay by credit card.

What is the Fiscal Service vision for the Hub & Spoke?

Recently we formally introduced the Hub & Spoke concept, however it has not yet entered our governance process. If approved and we elect to go forward, we would not expect to begin implementation until the final years of our Financial Agency Agreement term. The basic idea is to consolidate business rules and data from electronic and paper forms at a "Hub" residing on a Treasury platform. The lockbox front end -- extraction, document processing, and data capture -- would interact with the "Hub" but work would be performed at a financial agent "Spoke" facility.

Are credit card payments included in ECP?

No

Can we receive the Pay.Gov and ECP specifications?

Yes. As a follow up from the FASP information session, the following documents have been e-mailed to the participants:

  • ECP Vendor Interface Spec
  • Pay.gov TCS Spec
  • Nondisclosure Agreements
  • GLN Import File Template (Used by Financial Agents to report monthly activity)
  • GLN FASP Phase I Information Session Presentation

How many lockboxes require an A/R (Accounts Receivable) file and what are the expected deadlines?

Approximately 122 lockboxes require A/R files. The specific requirements regarding A/R files are in the Statement of Required Services for each cash flow, and will be provided in Phase 2.

Can the Financial Agent leverage excess capacity in other Fiscal Service Lockboxes?

Yes. The Financial Agent can leverage excess capacity in other Fiscal Service Lockboxes.The General Lockbox Network (GLN) work cannot be commingled with other Fiscal Service Lockbox work, and if it is an IRS Lockbox facility, the work must be physically separated and segregated including the loading dock.

Could a centralized keying facility be used for multiple Fiscal Service Lockboxes?

Yes. A centralized keying facility is acceptable for use by multiple Fiscal Service Lockboxes as long as the keying space is physically segregated from other bank work.

What is the rationale for being open 362 days per year? What is the expectation on weekends and holidays for file transmittal to Electronic Check Processing/Agencies and outgoing mail packages?

Our business requirements are listed in Section 3. C. of the GLN FASP Solicitation. Proposals may include alternative options. The Statement of Required Services documents will include the processing requirements for each of the cash flows.

Provide requirements for "metric tracking system".

Please refer to Section III. 3. Service Level Requirements for more information about the daily and monthly metric reporting. A copy of the Monthly Import File template (used by Financial Agents to capture monthly reporting totals) was e-mailed to all phase 1 participants. We expect the designated agent to provide this level of detail each month.

Is the aggregate transaction volume for retail as well as wholesale available for the last 3+ years?  Can this detail be provided by agency lockbox?

The aggregate transaction volumes for FY13, FY14 and FY15 are as follows:

FY13
37,856,884
FY14
38,255,646
FY15
34,793,162

Volumes per agency lockbox will be provided in Phase 2.

What is the current trend in overall retail and wholesale volumes?

Volumes over the last three fiscal years are as follows:

Fiscal Year
Retail Volume
Wholesale Volume
Totals
FY13
30,821,989
7,034,895
37,856,884
FY14
30,194,196
8,061,450
38,255,646
FY15
27,768,552
7,024,610
34,793,162

The Financial Agent Selection Process (FASP) talks about having the scalability to increase or decrease volume as needed during the Financial Agent Agreement.  Can Fiscal Service provide guidance on the upper and lower boundaries for scalability?

The Fiscal Service is not in a position to guarantee specific volumes of work.  Total General Lockbox Network aggregate transaction volumes for the last three fiscal years are as follows:

FY13
37,856,884
FY14
38,255,646
FY15
34,793,162

The Financial Agent Selection Process (FASP) indicates 22M retail and 12M wholesale items processed in FY15. What trends has the Bureau of Fiscal Service observed in volume changes due to electronic collection migration methods? Is a 5 year volume price guarantee required if awarded this financial agent role?

There are no volume price guarantee requirements. Pricing will be offered to finalists in a format provided by the Fiscal Service. Pricing negotiations will be entered into between the Fiscal Service and the selected Financial Agent. The chart below represents volumes for the last three fiscal years:

Fiscal Year
Retail Volume
Wholesale Volume
Totals
FY13
30,821,989
7,034,895
37,856,884
FY14
30,194,196
8,061,450
38,255,646
FY15
27,768,552
7,024,610
34,793,162

Questions about the General Lockbox Network (GLN) - Phase 2

What do the baseline security requirements address?

Base Line Security Requirements (BLSR) are the minimum Fiscal Service security requirements.  The BLSR was provided on 8/25/2016 to all financial institution finalists that submitted a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

Would new provider be expected to adopt a specific business product or method? Is there currently a special piece of software being used?

No.  There are no special requirements for software.  The only requirement is the designated Financial Agent (FA) will need to interface with Treasury systems, specifically Electronic Check Processing (ECP), Pay.gov, and Bank Management System (BMS).

What is the anticipated timeline to bring a new site online?

Fiscal Service would like to see the new site online completed as soon as possible, but the anticipated transition should be completed within 18-24 months after the Financial Agent Agreement (FAA) is signed. 

Can you provide any data on FOIA requests? Is FOIA centralized?

FOIA requests are centralized at Fiscal Service and will be worked with the Financial Agent through the General Lockbox Network (GLN) Program Manager.  There is no normal pattern of FOIA requests.  Historically there have been a minimal number of FOIA requests.

What is the distinction between destruction of paper checks vs paper envelopes? Is it an option?

Destruction of documentation is outlined in the General Lockbox Security Guidelines (GLSG).  Guidelines for paper envelopes and remittances are outlined in the individual Statement of Required Services (SRS) documents.  During transition we will standardize timeframes wherever possible.

As part of the transition, will there be an opportunity to work with the agency to change the Statement of Required Services (SRS)?

Yes.  The transition period is the time to make changes to the SRS document. 

Should recommended changes to Statement of Required Services (SRS) be included as part of proposal?

General improvements to the SRSs are welcome.  The financial institution may include recommended changes to the SRS document as part of their Phase 2 proposal.

Can any information be provided on improving and finding cost savings, or if current provider has already tried to implement these processes?

Financial Institutions should include recommendations in providing efficiencies, innovation, and cost savings in their Phase 2 proposal for the lockbox services.

Has Fiscal Service determined which agencies will be transferred first?

Fiscal Service is looking to the financial institutions to provide recommendations in their Phase 2 proposal on how to implement the transition of the agency cash flows. Fiscal Service reserves the right to dictate the transition of the agency cash flows.

Is there an end date that agencies have to be transitioned or is it tentative?

The Fiscal Service expects all agency cash flows to be transitioned as soon as possible, but no later than December 2018.

Will Fiscal Service be part of conversations with old and new Financial Agent?

Yes.  The Fiscal Service will be part of the transition teams.

Do the current agencies and their CFO's know about FASP?

Fiscal Service has sent communications to current agencies' lockbox representatives about the General Lockbox Network (GLN) Financial Agent Selection Process (FASP).

Is the General Lockbox Security Guidelines (GLSG) public information? Does the GLSG go in detail about the equipment requirements?

The GLSG is not public information.  Financial institutions are bound by the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). The GLSG does not go into detail about the equipment requirements.

Is there a limit to the number of participants per company that are allowed to attend the  oral presentation? Will there be an allocated time limit for the oral presentations?

Yes.  There is a limit of 6 participants per financial institution that are invited to attend the oral presentation.  The tentative allocated times are as follows:  2 hours for financial institution presentation and 2 hours for Fiscal Service questions.

Does the PowerPoint presentations need to be submitted prior to oral presentation?

No.  The financial Institution presentation does not need to be submitted prior to the oral presentation.

How does the Base Line Security Requirements (BLSR) differ from the General Lockbox Security Guidelines (GLSG)?

The GLSG focuses on the Physical and Personnel Security, but it is based on the Fiscal Service BLSR.

How do we capture costs for TCMS?

Fiscal Service does not envision an interface with TCMS.

Which cash flows use windowed envelopes?

The following agencies / lockboxes uses the window envelope for their collections:  Department of Education (Lockbox # 105029, 530210, 530229, 740283, 105347, 105189, 105193, 530278, 530308, 530815, 105291, 105765); Veterans Affairs (Lockbox # 530269, 105535), and USDA (Lockbox # 790170). 

Will Fiscal Service provide the annual security and privacy training?

The Financial Agent is required to provide both the annual security and privacy training.

Is a dedicated server structure required for the General Lockbox Network work, or if the data is segregated, but on the same server as the corporate work is that acceptable?

It is acceptable to segregate the work if the necessary requirements and controls are in place per the Fiscal Service Base Line Security Requirements (BLSR).

Will the SCM Tool be provided to the finalists?

Yes. The tool will be provided.

Will an Authority To Use (ATU) be issued annually?

No.  The ATU is issued only once.

Is it correct the first cash flow can’t be processed until the Authority To Use (ATU) is approved?

Yes.  The ATU can only be issued if the system is built, tested, and assessed.

Can the Base Line Security Requirements (BLSR) be viewed by others at the financial Institution (i.e. Legal office) without an Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

No.  An NDA is required and must be submitted for each individual that will view the BLSR. 

What is the requirement for the CCTV footage retention?

Please refer to the General Lockbox Security Guidelines (GLSG) for video footage retention.

For the new site, what is the approximate length of time required for Physical Security?

The length of time required will vary based on site readiness.

What are the set up costs for Hub and Spoke? (Would like guidance on how to put pricing for Hub and Spoke and interfacing with Collection Information Repository and TCMS).  When would a TCMS interface be used for ICLM deposits?

A new pricing template will be provided shortly and will not include Hub and Spoke as a line item. 

Is the SOC1 the only in-depth external audit?

No.  The SOC1, IT Security Assessment, and Physical & Personnel Security Reviews are the scheduled audits annually.  However, Fiscal Service, the Treasury Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office, other Federal agencies, and other entities as authorized by Fiscal Service shall have the right to conduct announced and unannounced onsite and offsite physical, personnel and information technology testing, security reviews, and audits of the Financial Agent, and to examine all books and records related to the services provided and compensation received under this Financial Agent Agreement.  The Financial Agent shall be responsible for implementing corrective actions associated with such testing, reviews, or audits as directed by Fiscal Service.  The Financial Agent shall also conduct any internal audits and obtain any independent audits as Fiscal Service or another government agency with oversight authority over Fiscal Service may require.  

Will there be openness for the agency to divert mail to different locations to enhance resiliency?

Yes, Fiscal Service will consider recommendations to enhance resiliency.

Are there current cash flows that have been designated as custom or specialty?

Fiscal Service has provided copies of the Statement of Required Services (SRS) documents to the financial institution finalists that are included in this General Lockbox Network Financial Agent Selection Process.

Should we understand that the first cash flow cannot be transitioned until 20 weeks later?

The first cash flow may not go live until the Authority to Use (ATU) memorandum is approved by Fiscal Service.

As noted in the May 31, 2016 solicitation, can you please confirm Fiscal Service will enter into a 5 year financial agency agreement with the Financial Agent and Fiscal Service will have the option to extend the Financial Agent Agreement for two additional 2-year terms – a total of 9 years?

Yes, Fiscal Service will enter into a 5-year financial agency agreement (FAA) with the Financial Agent.  Fiscal Service will have the option to extend the FAA for two additional 2-year terms. 

Will the General Lockbox Network (GLN) Fiscal Agent continue to develop/maintain a direct communication link from their system to the agency system even if the agency system has a communication link setup with the TWAI for other Treasury applications feeds? Or should that link be utilized in order to begin building a hub (central point)?

File delivery requirements are to be found in the individual Statement of Required Services (SRS) documents.  We will have an opportunity to update the SRS documents during the agency transition.

Can the reference account numbers currently assigned to the agencies' activity be retained or will all new numbers need to be assigned - i.e. lockbox account number, collections account numbers (CANs)?

Fiscal Service will do its best to keep current numbers assigned, unless there are systems limitations.

Are there any anticipated changes to the lockbox reporting requirements in support of same-day Automated Clearing House (ACH) for check conversion that need to be considered?

Fiscal Service is exploring this option, but there is no requirement for Same Day ACH at this time.

Can you provide volumes by cash flow for the past 3 years? Can we provide a breakdown by month?

Yes. Volumes by cash flow were provided on 9/2/2016 by e-mail to the financial institution finalists.

In reference to timing of transition, are there any peak times or sensitive times that the new Financial Agent should know about?

General Lockbox Network volumes by agency cash flow were provided by e-mail on 9/2/2016 to the financial institution finalists.

Is lockbox closure frequent? Is there a threshold for volumes for closures? And can we get a breakdown on volumes per agency?

General Lockbox Network volumes by agency cash flow were provided by e-mail on 9/2/2016 to the financial institution finalists.

Deposit Summary and Daily Detail Transaction Reports are referenced in some of the Statement of Required Services (SRS).  Are these reports specific to the existing Lockbox provider or is there a standard format that all Lockbox Financial Agents currently provide?  If the report is standard, are sample reports available?

All the agency reports and detailed information about the reports are documented in the SRS for each cash flow.  There are no standard formats at this time for agency reports.

There are also references to Daily Lockbox Batch Listing Report and Daily Batch Summary Report. Are there any other required reports not referenced in the Statement of Required Services (SRS)?

All of the required agency reports are documented in the SRS. 

Are there any additional formats/layouts to be considered? 

All the required agency reports are documented in the Statement of Required Services (SRS).  There are no additional formats/layouts to be considered.

Please explain in detail the processing requirements for the “FA Settled ACH/Wires GLN” and “Total Fedwire Remittance Processing”.

There will be no ACH and FedWire processing at the lockbox included in this GLN FASP.  However, there may be requests for some reports that need to be compiled for the ACH and FedWire data, specifically for CMS, VA, and Dept of Education cash flows from CIR.

Are the ACH Debit transactions described in the General Lockbox Network (GLN) Financial Agent Selection Process (FASP) Solicitation Document Section III, E Pay.gov included in the Credit Card Item Volume or in the ACH Item Volume?  If they are included in the ACH Item Volume, how much of that volume is ACH Debits originated at the lockbox (ie, keyed by the Financial Agent staff)?

There will be no ACH and FedWire processing at the lockbox included in this GLN FASP.  However, there may be requests for some reports that need to be compiled for the ACH and FedWire data, specifically for CMS, VA, and Dept of Education cash flows from CIR.  Updated 3 Year Volume data has been provided to the FIs on 9/12/2016 by email.

Will the Financial Agent be required to complete Interconnection Security Agreements (ISA) for each General Lockbox Network agency?

Answer:  An ISA will only be required if an agency has specific security policies that require the agreement.

Is the TRUFACS Program Trust Funds for Prisoners – Bureau of Prisons (BoP) part of the General Lockbox Network (GLN) and included in this scope or are the references to trust fund activity in the BoP lockbox cash flows separate from TRUFACS?

The Bureau of Prisons cash flow is included in the GLN Financial Agent Selection Process. However, there are no data entries made by General Lockbox into the TRUFACS system for the purposes of check collection.  There is an exchange of data files which means:  (1) BoP/TRUFACS sends a file to Lockbox including inmate name and inmate number and (2) Lockbox sends payment data and document image files to BoP/TRUFACS in order to update (TRUFACS) inmate accounts to reflect all valid lockbox payments.

In reference to the pricing template, is there room for negotiations or options?

The Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) will enter into a 5-year Financial Agent Agreement (FAA) with the Financial Agent (FA).  After commencement, the Fiscal Service will have the option to extend the FAA for two additional 2-year terms.  Please refer to the Tiered Pricing Instructions and Methodology for Price Adjustments documents.

What are the provisions for price increase escalations by year?

Please refer to the Tiered Pricing Instructions and Methodology for Price Adjustments documents.

Will the Lockbox cash flow profiles relevant to ECP reporting for UDD fields be made available for review?  These were not included in the Statement of Required Services documents received.

General Lockbox Network provided the ECP ACP documents on a CD-ROM and mailed them to the finalists on 9/16/2016 via UPS.

Will the Fiscal Service allow bidders to increase the per item pricing each year and at each option period renewal? Or, will the Fiscal Service expect that the pricing will be static for the entire duration of the Financial Agent Agreement, including option periods?

Please refer to the Tiered Pricing Instructions and Methodology for Price Adjustments documents.

Do the Department of Education boxes have the same scan line specifications?

No.  Each Education lockbox has different scan line specifications which are unique to each loan servicer’s AR system requirements.  Each loan service uses a distinctly different AR system to process student loans on behalf of the Department of Education.

If the Department of Education coupons are all different, will they be standardized as part of ED's current initiative to consolidate loan servicers?

(See Federal Aid Servicing Solution.)The Department of Education is consolidating its systems that service loans to a single system.  At this time, Fiscal Service does not have definitive information from the Agency yet on the number of service providers will run the system.  GLN is open to recommendations in process improvements and standardization once more information is available.

Should the winning General Lockbox Network bidder expect to implement legacy loan servicer Department of Education coupons, a single consolidated coupon, or both?

It is unknown at this time.  Department of Education is undergoing a procurement action regarding loan services.

Will the Fiscal service confirm that an independently generated Certification and Accreditation (C&A) report for GLN applicable FISMA requirements will not be required?

An initial full independent security assessment will be required to validate the implementation of applicable security controls and issue the Authority to Use (ATU). An annual risk-based security assessment is required every year after the initial assessment. 

Will Fiscal Service confirm that all cash flows labeled as retail have a remittance a machine readable scan line?

Yes, lockboxes labeled as Retail have a machine readable scan line payment coupon.

The retail box Statement of Required Services requires payee validation. Typically, payee validation is not standard in a retail lockbox environment since the lockbox platform will automatically process items when the check amount matches the coupon scan line amount. Will the Fiscal Service consider changing this requirement to have the financial agent provide payee validation only when the amount of the check does not match the amount in the scan line? (If this requirement is not changed, then many items will have to be manually reviewed, leading to increased cost for the Fiscal Service).

Currently, each retail check image is reviewed and validated against the agency's list of unacceptable payees, via data entry terminal. All check images with unacceptable payees are rejected and returned to the agency. This process is performed on 100% of all retail check payments; therefore an update to this process is not currently under consideration.

The Statement of Required Services vary in terms of processing requirements. Consider: VA lockbox 530269 states, "all payments processed by noon (ET), will be included in the same day AR file transmission to the Agency and the ECP file transmission to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (FRB Cleveland). Payments processed after noon (ET) will be included in the next day’s file transmissions. Mail is received multiple times per day from the U.S. Post Office. QLP maximizes same day processing and processes all payments within 24 hour of receipt. Any VA payment received by noon (ET), and not included by the next day on the VA AR file and deposit will be considered holdover."

Yes, the SRS documents vary in terms of processing requirements.  The Fiscal Service welcomes standardization and / or process improvements.

The Statement of Required Services (SRS) vary in terms of processing requirements. Consider: USDA lockbox 790170 states, "Mail will be processed on a “first-in, first-out” basis.  The mail processing schedule shall be provided to CMS for review and approval.  The QLP shall receive and deposit all remittances.  All remittances received after the approved cut-off local time shall be processed in the next day’s work.  All express (overnight) mail received by noon local time shall be processed for payment the same day."

Yes, the SRS documents vary in terms of processing requirements.  The Fiscal Service welcomes standardization and / or process improvements.

Can all cash flows/Statement of Required Services be standardized to reflect a 24 hour window for all work, with best efforts made for same day processing?

Currently, the mail drop, cut-off times, and processing window is not standardized across the Financial Agents processing the General Lockbox Network (GLN) work.  Financial Institutions may include recommendations for general improvements or to standardize this process in their Phase 2 proposal for their proposed site locations.

There are inconsistencies in the Statement of Required Services (SRS) regarding process requirements and cutoff times for Remittances received by incoming overnight courier e.g. FedEx and UPS processing? Would Fiscal Service consider standardizing cutoffs and process requirements?

Currently, the mail drop, cut-off times, and processing window is not standardized across the Financial Agents processing the General Lockbox Network (GLN) work.  Financial Institutions may include recommendations for general improvements or to standardize this process in their Phase 2 proposal for their proposed site locations.

The mail drops and SRSs are not consistent across all of the cash flows.  Will this be standardized?

Currently, the mail drop, cut-off times, and processing window is not standardized across the Financial Agents processing the General Lockbox Network (GLN) work.  Financial Institutions may include recommendations for general improvements or to standardize this process in their Phase 2 proposal for their proposed site locations.

Can the ATU process be started prior to completion of the build out of any new processing site(s)? 

The selection of the security controls and completion of the SCM can start prior the completion of the build out. However, the security assessment needs to be completed after the site is built and the security controls implemented. Once the security assessment is completed, Fiscal Service will review the security assessment report and issue the ATU.  

What does "Restrictive Endorsement: Agency Complete" mean?

Restrictive endorsement is an endorsement which limits further negotiability of a negotiable instrument. 

On many of the Statement of Required Services documents, the Data Entry selection chart does not indicate that data entry is required, but other verbiage in the SRS indicates that Data Entry is required. Where is it not included, assumed that the SRS does require Data Entry?

Yes, this is correct.  The data entry is required in those cases.

Why are there two boxes included on the Statement of Required Services for lockboxes: 979027 and 879027?

Historically, some lockboxes had two lockboxes associated with a single ALC+2.  General Lockbox Network (GLN) has established a 1:1 relationship between lockbox and ALC+2 for all lockboxes with the exception of these two remaining due to the limited resources by the agency to complete implementation.  GLN will work with the new Financial Agent and Agency to have the 1:1 relationship for these two lockboxes during transition.

 With a WLBX Maintenance volume (# of boxes) of 1574 (approx. 131 boxes / month) and a WLBX PO Box rental fee of $23,321, means that they pay on average $14.82 per box per month PO Box rental.  Is this correct?

050000 Wholesale Lockbox Maintenance 1,574
050005 Wholesale Lockbox Maintenance - Imaging 518

The revised Pricing Template was provided on 9/21/2016. 

Does this mean that not all WLBXes provide the images to the General Lockbox Network / Agency?  We expected the number of boxes and the number of boxes which provide images to be 1:1. 
050005          Wholesale Lockbox Maintenance-Imaging          518

The SRS will define which agencies require a Bank Imaging System. 

05011psp Special Handling Charge for Inmate Name and Number verification. – What information will we have to verify this info against?

There is an exchange of files between Bureau of Prisons (BoP) and the Financial Agent.  BoP provides a daily file to the lockbox containing the inmate number and inmate name.

05011RMEPS Wholesale Lockbox Image - MEPS Application Imaging: Image MEP applications for retrieval purposes and archival – how will we count this document type separately?

Please refer to the General Lockbox Network Pricing Template.

 05013F Wholesale Lockbox Non-Standard Processing – volume 222,757 – can they provide a better definition of what this means.

Please refer to the agency Statement of Required Services for the agency specific non-standard processing requirements.

05013I Wholesale Lockbox Remitter Correspondence 94,544 – for letters that we must send to remitters.  Do they provide examples of these letters?  What are the requirements?  Are there requirements regarding paper stock?  Can we have an outsourced print shop vendor print and mail these?  Do they expect this cost to include the postage for the letters?

Please refer to the agency Statement of Required Services  document for the specific agency requirements of daily mail-out requirements.  The postage expenses are a pass thru cost on the pricing template.

Why are there 2 line items for RLBX PO Box rental?

Please refer to the pricing template since those are two distinct line items.

Question: Of the ~28MM items represented below, only 25MM required or were charged for data capture.  Should these volumes equal each other?

050200 Retail Lockbox Remittance - Machine Readable Item - Matched 8,186,637  
050201 Retail Lockbox Remittance - Machine Readable Item - Unmatched 9,584,822  
050202 Retail Lockbox Remit - Machine Readable Item - Multiples 96,220 27,967,679
050221 Retail Lockbox Data Capture - MICR Line 1,207,481  
050222 Retail Lockbox Data Capture - OCR/MICR Line 21,243,602  
050226 Retail Lockbox Data Capture - Alphanumeric Single Entry 1,637,097 24,088,180

The reason that the amounts in question are not equal is because some agencies may receive multiple checks for one account or one check for multiple accounts. 

What services / tasks are included in this line item?
059999PLAN          Lockbox Custom Project Planning          40,417

Please refer to the SRS for lockbox 970020 (I-901).

Question: Box 790135 – Can we see an example of the “AOS Reject form letter”?

A copy of the form is attached.

979006 – Data Capture details are mentioned to be included in Attachment II, but there is no Attachment II provided.

All the attachments have been provided as remittance and coupon files for each cash flow.   Please refer to the specific cash flow’s remittance or coupon file to review a specific attachment mentioned in the Statement of Required Services.

979055 – Copies of Tax Forms to be included in Attachment A, no Attachment A provided.

All the attachments have been provided as remittance and coupon files for each cash flow.   Please refer to the specific cash flow’s remittance or coupon file to review a specific attachment mentioned in the SRS.

790300 – Funds Transmittal Report listed as Attachment E, no Attachment E provided.

All the attachments have been provided as remittance and coupon files for each cash flow.   Please refer to the specific cash flow’s remittance or coupon file to review a specific attachment mentioned in the SRS.

 790391 – Attachment A lists 3 form types, but Attachment A is not provided.

All the attachments have been provided as remittance and coupon files for each cash flow.   Please refer to the specific cash flow’s remittance or coupon file to review a specific attachment mentioned in the Statement of Required Services.

Does Fiscal Service have a list of all the 189 cash flows / lockboxes referred-to in the General Lockbox Network (GLN) Financial Agent Selection Process materials?

GLN provided a copy of all the Statement of Required Services cash flows on the CD-ROM on 8/11/2016.

Please confirm that the volume column on the General Lockbox Network Lockbox Price Schedule (column H) represents annual volumes.

Column H represents FY 15 volumes.

Will the Fiscal Service own/retain all P.O. box information within the USPS (e.g, box applications, annual P.O. box renewal fees)?

No.  The Fiscal Service does not / own retain the P.O. Box information.

Can you share a sample of existing Quality and Performance metrics (by month for at least 12 consecutively)?

No.  The Fiscal Service cannot share a sample of the Quality and Performance Metrics.

Is CS/Support staff requirement to be singularly dedicated, or is a designated contact(s) model acceptable?

Yes.  A singularly dedicated staff for General Lockbox Network customer service is required.

Is the CS/Support staff required to be physically located away from existing staff?

Yes.  CS/Support staff is required to be physically located at the lockbox site.

Are custom scorecards required, and will they be combined across the relationship (versus unique by agency)?

An overall combined scorecard is required for the General Lockbox Network.

May we obtain samples of existing scorecards/report cards/Service Level Agreements?

No. Fiscal Service is not able to provide samples of existing scorecards/reports.  A copy of the Performance Measures was provided along with each individual Statement of Required Services document.

Will there be an established schedule/frequency of onsite visits or business review meetings beyond the stated semi-annual internal and annual external audits?

No.  There will not be an established schedule of onsite visits or business review meetings.

CS Capacity planning…are there existing Customer Service inquiry/case metrics that can be shared (by month for at least 12 months consecutively)?

No.  Fiscal Service is not able to provide existing CS inquiry / case metrics.

May we obtain a copy of the pricing/billing elements by agency for at least a 12 month period of time (i.e. similar to the pricing template provided)?
Please include volumes by month by pricing/billing elements.

No.  Fiscal Service is not able to provide a copy of the pricing / billing elements by agency.

What are the retention requirements for all other data e.g reports?

Please see attached GLN retention schedule for reference.

Is there a standard retention/storage policy that the lockbox provider should implement for the data transmission files generated?

Yes.  Please reference the attached GLN Retention Schedule.

There is an AFP Code for Wholesale Lockbox Maintenance, but no AFP Code for Retail Lockbox Maintenance. Was this deliberate, or an oversight? If an oversight, will the Fiscal Service issue a revised pricing template? If deliberate, can Fiscal Service explain why there is a maintenance fee for one type of lockbox service but not the other?

The AFP Code for Retail Lockbox Maintenance (050010) has been added to the revised pricing schedule.

Will Fiscal Service consider standardizing the destruction timelines across the SRSs (per the information session - 7 days checks, 30 days remittances, 90 days images)?

Yes.  Please reference the attached GLN Retention Schedule.

With regard to Wholesale Lockbox Research (2015 volume 747,827), please elaborate on the nature of these research items and average length of time to close an inquiry.

AFP Code 05013G is used to research missing or incomplete Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Registration numbers on Form l 59. The FA accesses FCC's main page to look up the missing registration number. The remittance is then processed as usual. Average research time is 15 minutes per item.

Some SRS documents include information for 2 lockboxes, one for ECP and one for non-ECP processing. Why is this? Why are some transactions non-ECP?

Some lockboxes may have an ECP and Non-ECP lockbox functions associated with them.  Non-ECP lockboxes may serve several purposes, depending on agency requirements, including contingency, unprocessables, credit cards, or undeliverables.

 05011PMEPSEXCP Wholesale Lockbox Special Handling - MEPS ACH Exceptions “This is only used for lockbox 979029 OPM Service Credit.” – How is the ACH Exception information delivered to / provided to Lockbox?

When the FI uses Pay.gov Trusted Collections Service (TCS), they will download a daily Activity File from Pay.gov.  This XML-based file contains all of the previous day's activity (including exceptions). 

 050136 Wholesale Lockbox Weekend Processing – does this assume that there will be weekend transmissions also?

Yes.  The Bureau of Prisons is required to process over the weekend and to send weekend AR files to Bureau of Prisons.  The Bureau of Prisons is the only cashflow that has volumes for this AFP code. 

790170 and 790190 – “USDA Blue Checks” are listed as a form of payment – can we see samples of these checks?

The agency sends USDA Blue check to offset an overage of payoff funds, escrow overage, misdirected payments, etc.

What is the expectation if underground parking is adjacent to the Lockbox?

Please refer to GSLG 2.3 (2) – Parking: Generally, facilities with underground or under building parking shall be avoided.  Facilities with unmonitored/uncontrolled underground parking (e.g., lack of card access, controlled hydraulic gates or crash resistant arms, and security gates) are not acceptable.  NOTE: Additional guard and security related devices would not be at the cost to the government. 

Is it acceptable for Fiscal Service work to ride on the same courier pickup if the work is segregated from others?

Please reference the GLSG Sections 3.4 Additional Requirements, 3.5 Transport Policy, Procedures and Compliance, and 3.7 Package and Shipping.

What are the specific requirements for scanning Treasury Folders i.e. user, security, audit etc.?

Electronic folders are used by a few banks at this time although the majority still maintains paper copies of Treasury Folders.  If the information can be reviewed via remote access, screen shots of various documents then it is acceptable. Please reference GLSG Section 1.0 Treasury Folder for guidance concerning Electronic folder.

In a multi-tenant building, is it acceptable to produce the annual maintenance and testing report or would it be expected that a real-time test occur during an audit engagement?

Yes, in an unannounced assessment, it would be acceptable to produce the annual maintenance and testing report. However, in an announced review, a full performance test of the UPS and Generator will need to be done.

Fiscal Service will want to see all testing/maintenance documentation concerning CCTV, IDS system and generator/UPS. In addition, we usually conduct an on-site “live test” of random IDS alarm points during a security review.

Generator/UPS test are conducted only on announced security reviews.  Bank staff is given notification approximately 30 days prior to the review so that they can set up a test time/date with the specific vendor(s).

In a multi-tenant building, is there a review of the other tenants who have access to the building and if so, what’s required to help facilitate the review?

Depending upon the level of work being performed by the other tenants (example: high risk target area which could bring attention & risk to the government operations) and access to the government work space.  Normally, Fiscal Service usually just wants to be informed of the name and nature of the business type of any other tenant(s) in a building.  The actual lockbox space will be required to have access control devices such as card readers on all suite entrances and/or a dedicated guard force to prevent unauthorized people from entering.

Some of Bank of America SRSs indicate that foreign items be processed by the Financial Agent.  Is that because Bank of America is the current provider of international collection services?  If so, will the Fiscal Service direct a new GLN provider to send foreign items to Bank of America for processing?  If not, will the new GLN provider be required to process all 3 OTC Net functions (prepare/approve/confirm) related to foreign currency deposits?

The only checks denominated in foreign currencies accepted at the lockbox sites are checks denominated in Canadian Dollars.  The lockbox site will be expected to process the checks denominated in Canadian Dollars for the two agencies (Department of Education and OST) for which Canadian Dollar-denominated deposits are accepted.  These checks are FA settled using a DDA settlement account used by OTCNet to pull / draw down deposit funds each business day.

Is the specialized source code related to Fiscal Service cashflow from exiting providers' remittance processing platform(s) owned by Fiscal Service?  Would it be possible to make this source code available to the financial agent awarded the work to potentially reduce the cost of implementation?

Fiscal Service has the non-exclusive right to use, disclose, reproduce, prepare derivative works of, and publicly distribute software source and object code developed by Fiscal Service's current financial agents in performance of the agents' obligations to Fiscal Service under the existing financial agency agreements.

Please confirm that the estimated monthly volume column on the GLN Lockbox Price Schedule (column L) should be titled "Estimated Annual Value" since the volume column appears to represent annual volumes.

Yes. Since the totals in column H represent the estimated annual volumes, the value in column L represents the estimated annual value.

Does Fiscal Service have an updated timeframe for oral presentations, expected FASP award and agreement negotiation and signature, and the expected FASP effective date?

Fiscal Service will confirm individual oral presentation dates and times after the Phase 2 Proposal is received by Fiscal Service from the Finalist.   We currently expect the oral presentations to occur between November 14 and November 18, 2016. Fiscal Service is on schedule to select a new financial agent by the end of this calendar year, but this schedule may be amended from time to time in the sole discretion of Fiscal Service.    

What are the PCI requirements at the lockbox?

The Financial Agent must comply with applicable PCI Data Security Standards (DSS). An annual Report of Compliance (ROC) or Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) will be required based on the transactions volume.

Is an annual PCI compliance attestation required?

Yes.

Will the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) require access to an image archive? There is reference to Internet access for this agency in the pricing template and appears to be the only agency requiring access.

No. The PBGC is currently the only agency to which this service is provided and we expect to discontinue this service once a new Financial Agent is selected.

There is a reference to a System Security Plan (SSP) document in the information session briefing materials.  We have received the Security Control Matrix (SCM) and understand we need to complete it and submit it to obtain the ATU prior to commencing production operations under the FASP.  Does an SSP need to be completed and submitted also or will a complete description in the SCM of how we meet the security requirements suffice?  If the SSP is required, can FS provide the SSP template that will need to be completed?

Yes, the SSP needs to be provided with the SCM. The Financial Agent will need to provide an SSP for the Lockbox Operations. The FA will be expected to follow NIST SP 800-18 Revision 1, Guide for Developing Security Plans for Federal Information Systems.

The following boxes (530238, 531229, 530308, 4264, 4619, 4630, 4631, 6013,6109, 6126, 6219, 6237, 6540, 277167, 530256, 740192, 4278, 4313, 8009, 6066, 6114, 4260, 4278, 4313, 6066, 6114, 8009)  were identified that were on the metrics reports and had volumes in 2015 but we cannot locate them in an SRS.   Can FS confirm these boxes are open and included in the GLN FASP and, if so, provide an SRS for them?

These lockboxes are either closed or excluded from the GLN FASP. 

The Statement of Required Services for the SEC Lockbox indicates the receipt of wire transfers.  Would these transactions transition with the Lockbox, or remain at the incumbent for processing through the Credit Gateway?

Yes, these transactions would transition with the Lockbox.

Will Fiscal Service require an actual test of bank deposit annually for the General Lockbox Network? If so, will it be for each of the cash flows, or a sampling of cash flows?

Yes.  The details of the sampling and testing will be developed and provided at a later date.

Can you please clarify the level of detail expected in the Phase II proposal related to Security and Audit?  We respect the limitation on individuals under NDA that have access to the BLSR and want to ensure we do not divulge information regarding the requirements in the proposal.

Fiscal Service expects financial institution presentations to sufficiently cover all topics relating to Security and Audit.

050100 (Wholesale Lockbox Remittance Processing): 7,817,231
050101 (Wholesale Lockbox Remittance - Machine Readable Item - Matched): 756,102
050112 (Wholesale Lockbox Detail Sorting - Rough Sort): 9,346,044
050113 (Wholesale Lockbox Detail Sorting - Fine Sort Numeric): 274,920
050114 (Wholesale Lockbox Detail Sorting - Fine Sort Alphanumeric): 6,366
1. Can you verify the overall transaction volume?  Not sure how to map this to the 12mm projected    volume mentioned in the RFP as wholesale items.
2. Are the items listed in 050101 a subset of 050100?
3. Why is 050112 greater than 050100?

1. The total item volumes listed on the RFP will not match the volumes on the pricing schedule. This is because the RFP FY15 totals are for check item volumes only, while the FY15 totals listed on the pricing Schedule includes checks, credit cards, ACH and Fedwire transactions.                                                  

2. No

3. The reason that the volumes for AFP code 050112 are greater than those volumes processed for AFP code 050100 is because there were a greater number of wholesale transactions that were "custom sorted" than those items that were "non custom sorted". Per the definitions below, AFP codes 050100 and 050112 are separate processing functions which are unrelated:  

050100 - Charge for maintaining a wholesale lockbox, which is generally used to process low volume, high dollar, non-scannable corporate payments. This is a fixed charge.

050112 - Charge for general sorting of wholesale lockbox remittance documents into customer-specified groups.

We have a Statement of Required Services for the following boxes, but no volumes: 979085 and 530276

Lockbox 979085 is for Fedwire transactions only.  In FY 15, there were zero Fedwire transactions for this lockbox.  Lockbox 530276 had no volume in FY15 because it was a new lockbox for Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that did not come online until November 2015 (FY16).

We have volumes for the following boxes, but no corresponding SRS for the following lockboxes: 530308, 531229, 530238, 530260, 277167, and 530256.  Please advise status.

These lockboxes were closed in 2014 or 2015.

The volume reported for FCC cash flows in 2015 (<4K checks) does not appear to correlate well with the research volume of 747,827 items and the FCC specs do not contain a description of the process described above. Definition of AFP Code 05013G in the pricing schedule describes a post-processing investigation in response to client questions whereas the answer above appears to describe a lookup process included in the processing workflow. How should we reconcile this discrepancy? Is the 748K volume attributed to AFP Code 05013G exclusively associated with the <4K check volumes for FCC? If not, is the 15 minutes per item based only on the single process described for FCC above, or is it representative of research volumes for all included clients?

In FY15, the 748K items were originally billed under custom AFP code 05999RSRCH (Research Remittances without Invoice/Coupon). This AFP code was used by three lockboxes; 979035, 790355 and 790348. Recently, custom AFP code 059999RSCH was replaced by standard AFP code 05013G.



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