In response to dramatic shifts in the payment landscape, the Federal
Reserve in 2003 made some tough decisions regarding the offices in
which it will continue to process checks. In the Eighth District,
such decisions have had a ripple effect, prompting us to shut down
our operational role in cash processing and vacate branch buildings
in Little Rock and Louisville. By the end of 2004, the Little Rock
and Louisville branches will no longer process any form of payment.
For an institution like the Fed, these changes were seismic. If
you searched for a single word to sum up what the Fed is all about,
the word stability would do a pretty good job. Our
primary mission is to maintain price stability. Stability also
defines the Fed’s goals since 1913 for supervising and regulating
the nation’s banking system, as well as safeguarding the
payments system. Finally, our employees have always regarded the
Fed as a stable place to come to work each day.
In the wake of decisions
that will reduce staff in Little Rock and Louisville to fewer than
10 each, we have pondered the question:
a Fed branch for anyway? Have branch offices served their time? The
essay in this annual report answers the latter question with a resounding
We will detail the critical significance of the
St. Louis Fed’s regional presence in cities around its district.
Simply put, we cannot afford to lose or lessen the importance of
the network of
economic information-gathering resources we’ve established,
the critical input we get from our branch boards of directors on
economy, and the one-on-one relationships we’ve
nurtured among the region’s bankers, teachers, community
development agencies and university professors. Indeed, we plan
to expand these
networks, as this report will discuss.
Our renewed efforts will
result in a greater public and intellectual presence in branch
cities than we’ve had. Even as we reduce
our role as an employer of workers, we expect to be increasing
in the community.
Our new branch direction marks a new era. At the
same time, we should not forget the tremendous contributions
of the employees
leaving us. Our employees in Little Rock and Louisville are some
of the finest
in the Federal Reserve System, and we will miss them. They routinely
the System in measures of productivity and cost recovery, and
I am saddened by the decisions that have cost them their jobs.
goodbye to these employees during the second half of 2004,
I will do my best to pay tribute to their dedication, excellence
and customer service, for they deserve whatever thanks we can
PRESIDENT AND CEO
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