Annual Report 2020 | Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The COVID-19 Economy: How the Pandemic Defined 2020

Our People, Our Work 2020

At the St. Louis Fed, we are driven by our mission to promote a healthy economy and financial stability. In 2020, we carried out our mission while actively monitoring the developments of the spread of COVID-19 and its profound impact on our nation, the Federal Reserve’s Eighth District and our workforce.

The Bank’s 1,436 staff members—from our District’s head office in St. Louis to branches in Louisville, Little Rock and Memphis—serve the public’s interest in many ways, as seen in the following numerical snapshot of 2020. However, this snapshot will look different from past years’: On March 16, 2020, the Bank moved to operating on a full-time remote basis except for staff engaged in essential on-site operations. As a result, event attendance and figures tied to meeting in person were lower than in past years, though Bank activities were robust, and certain participation categories exceeded those of previous years.

All numbers are as of Dec. 31, 2020, unless otherwise noted.


EMBRACING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

LEFT: The Bank celebrates and supports our LGBTQ+ employees and allies in June and throughout the year. The St. Louis Fed is committed to being a workplace where all employees can be their authentic selves ... and selfies.

RIGHT: The Bank’s Supplier Diversity team plans the next outreach event.


  • 100
    —a perfect score earned for a fifth straight year in the Human Rights Campaign’s Best Places to Work Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool for policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ+ employees.
  • 94%
    of inner-city, majority-minority and all-girls high schools across the Eighth District reached through the St. Louis Fed’s economic education resources.
  • 31%
    of the Bank’s workforce engaged in employee-led resource groups, which are focused on African Americans, Asians, Latino/Hispanic Americans, women, people with disabilities, military veterans and the LGBTQ+ community.
  • 181
    Bank employees attended a Minority Women in Business virtual event, co-sponsored by the African American and women employee resource groups, on the intersectionality of being minority women and breaking barriers. 

EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES THROUGH EDUCATION AND OUTREACH

LEFT: Our Economy Museum’s newest exhibit—"Ancient and Unique Money"—features currency made of glass, porcelain and even axes. Look for more currency displays in the museum’s expansion, opening later in 2021.

RIGHT: Our 2020 intern class represented 27 colleges/universities, four high schools, 17 majors and seven states.


  • 110,324
    bankers, regulators and other industry participants engaged in webinars and in-person information sessions held on timely financial and regulatory developments. This outreach helped to facilitate the national distribution of COVID-19 relief payments.This number may not include branch events such as Bankers’ Breakfasts.
  • 13,937
    people signed up for 24 in-person and virtual workshops, conferences and other events led by the Bank’s Community Development department to promote economic resilience and mobility for low- to moderate-income and underserved households and communities across the District.
  • $2.73 million
    in grants, loans and investments—and 421 documented connections—committed to date by funders participating in community and economic development projects through the St. Louis Fed’s Investment Connection program.
  • 4
    rounds of the COVID-19 survey, Main Street Perspectives: How COVID-19 Is Affecting Low- to Moderate-Income Communities, conducted to help gauge the pandemic’s impact in the Eighth District.
  • 10,360
    attendees at presentations requested through the St. Louis Fed’s public speakers bureau.
  • 6,576
    attendees at St. Louis Fed public dialogue and outreach events held in person and virtually in St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis.
  • 2,005
    visitors welcomed to the St. Louis Fed’s Economy Museum until it temporarily closed on March 13 to help protect public health and safety.
  • 8,496
    visits to the Economy Museum’s new Virtual Experience page.
  • 535,000+
    students reached through educators who participated in St. Louis Fed economic education programs.
  • 724,000+
    active engagements in the Bank’s Econ Lowdown economic education curriculum. This represented a 35% increase, as our online portal equipped teachers to share economic and personal finance content virtually throughout the pandemic.
  • 2,000+
    third- through eighth-grade students enrolled in our new Personal Finance Virtual Summer Camp.
  • 20
    new high school students from a diverse array of area schools appointed to the St. Louis Fed’s student board of directors.
  • 39
    college and 4 high school students served as interns for the Bank, with a record 9 college students returning to build on previous internships.

PROVIDING THOUGHT LEADERSHIP THROUGH SCHOLARLY ECONOMIC RESEARCH

RIGHT: Economists B. Ravikumar (left) and Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria of the Research Division discuss their work.


  • Top 3%
    ranking for President James Bullard on RePEc in a number of categories, including the h-index.RePEc is Research Papers in Economics. The h-index, or Hirsch index, is a compound measure of publications and citations used to highlight research productivity.
  • #9
    in research productivity among all central bank research departments worldwide.
  • #29 among all U.S. research institutions.
  • #41 among all research institutions worldwide.
  • 3.4 million
    economic research items from around the world available to search and download for free via IDEASIDEAS is the world’s largest bibliographic database dedicated to economics. This service, provided by RePEc, is hosted by the St. Louis Fed’s Research Division., including 10,000 new papers related to COVID-19 posted to the site.
  • 51 million
    page views of the St. Louis Fed’s research site by people in 193 United Nations countries.
  • 79,073
    page views of the St. Louis Fed’s COVID-19 Research Resources page.
  • 51
    new working papers authored by our economists to stimulate discussion and critical comment.
  • 44
    Economic Synopses articles on COVID-19 and other economic issues of the day.
  • 768,000
    data series in FRED®, the St. Louis Fed’s free economic database.
  • 134,292
    page views for GeoFRED®, a tool that allows users to create, customize and share geographical maps of data found in FRED.
  • 586,118
    items in FRASER®, the St. Louis Fed’s historical digital library, with materials dating from 1791.

FOSTERING FINANCIAL STABILITY AND SOUNDNESS

Kathy Paese, the Bank’s new first vice president, previously served as the executive vice president over the Treasury Division, providing oversight and direction to the Treasury Relations and Support Office, and 14 operational/technical services the Eighth District provides to the U.S. Treasury.


  • 129
    state member banks and 461 bank, financial, and savings and loan holding companies supervised by the St. Louis Fed.
  • 909 million
    currency notes inspected.
  • 838 million notes deemed fit for circulation.
  • 71 million notes removed from circulation and shredded.
  • 1,607
    suspected counterfeit notes withdrawn from circulation.
  • $4.25 billion
    in improper and stopped payments identified by the St. Louis Fed in its role as fiscal agent to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and its Do Not Pay program, helping federal agencies eliminate payment error, waste, fraud and abuse.Total is for the 2020 federal government fiscal year. This total includes more than $3.6 billion in improper payments identified after analysis of economic impact payments issued as part of the CARES Act.
  • 22,182 hours
    spent by internal auditors reviewing St. Louis Fed operations.Does not include time spent on training, administrative work and special projects.

SHARING TIMELY INFORMATION ABOUT THE ECONOMY AND THE FED

LEFT: Regional Economist, the Central Banker newsletter and our blogs are just a few timely sources of economic information and Bank news.

RIGHT: Our Women in Economics podcast series highlights the studies and careers of those making their marks in the field of economics. The series has featured prominent women such as Fenaba R. Addo, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


  • 1.193 million
    page views of the On the Economy and Open Vault blogs, reflecting a 42.5% jump in readership fueled by content highlighting pandemic-related research and everyday economics.
  • 446,580
    page views for the FRED® Blog, which provides insight and analysis on key data found in FRED.
  • 483,305
    page views for Regional Economist, providing insights on economic issues in today's headlines—now in its 28th year of publication.
  • 107
    articles in the Bank’s Central Banker e-newsletter, sampling everything from academic research to practical lessons on personal finance.
  • 10,324
    followers on Facebook.
  • 16,537
    followers on LinkedIn.
  • 114,126
    followers on Twitter.
  • 10
    boards and 57 Pins focusing on economic education materials added to the St. Louis Fed’s newly launched social media account, Pinterest.
  • 23,597
    downloads of episodes from our Timely Topics and Women in Economics podcast series, including two newly launched miniseries. The first explores COVID-19’s impacts on local, national and global economies. The second, our Economic Equity miniseries, highlights research, insights and experiences surrounding a more inclusive, equitable economy.

Recognizing the Significant Service of Our Executive Leader Retirees

Karl W. Ashman,
executive vice president: 31 years of service

Cletus C. Coughlin,
senior vice president and chief of staff: 33 years of service

Michael D. Renfro,
senior vice president and general auditor: 31 years of service

David A. Sapenaro,
first vice president and COO: 35 years of service

 

Endnotes

  1. This number may not include branch events such as Bankers’ Breakfasts.
  2. RePEc is Research Papers in Economics. The h-index, or Hirsch index, is a compound measure of publications and citations used to highlight research productivity.
  3. IDEAS is the world’s largest bibliographic database dedicated to economics. This service, provided by RePEc, is hosted by the St. Louis Fed’s Research Division.
  4. Total is for the 2020 federal government fiscal year.
  5. Does not include time spent on training, administrative work and special projects.
  6. This figure is much lower than in 2019 due to the work-from-home posture during the pandemic.