Senior Vice President Robert Hopkins leads the Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, serving the majority of Arkansas, except northeast Arkansas. Our staff supervise banks, offer cash services for such institutions, participate in community development efforts and provide economic education, among other duties.
The Little Rock Branch of the St. Louis Fed opened for business with 38 employees on Jan. 6, 1919. The third and final St. Louis Fed Branch office to open, the Branch originally leased space in the Southern Trust Building, which sits directly across the street from our current location inside the Stephens Building.
Senior Vice President Robert Hopkins reflects on the Little Rock Branch’s 100 years of history, from its start in payments to its focus on economic education and community development.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the coronavirus may temporarily slow global economic growth, but the Federal Open Market Committee is in a good position because of previous policy rate cuts designed to insure the U.S. economy against adverse shocks. “Longer-term U.S. interest rates have been driven lower by a global flight to safety, likely benefiting the U.S. economy,” he said during a presentation to the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Further policy rate cuts are a possibility if a global pandemic actually develops with health effects approaching the scale of ordinary influenza, but this is not the baseline case at this time,” he said.
The presentation was part of a two-day visit to the city in northwestern Arkansas, which is in the St. Louis Fed’s District.
As part of the visit, Bullard toured the U. S. Marshals Museum, which is scheduled to open in 2021. The museum will tell the history of the 230-year-old U.S. Marshals Service, the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.
Bullard also visited ArcBest, a freight and logistics company, and met with members of the Fort Smith Regional Council, a group of area leaders who are focused on economic development.
Bullard meets regularly with business and civic groups in the four zones that make up the St. Louis Fed’s District to share insight on the U.S. economy, as well as gather views from Main Street. Fort Smith is in the Little Rock Zone.
Ray Dillon is the former chairman of the Little Rock Branch board of directors and former CEO of Arkansas-based Deltic Timber Corp. He now serves on the St. Louis Fed’s real estate council. Dillon respects how much attention is paid to gathering accurate data — “real data from the grassroots level of this country” — to help form monetary policy.
Learn about upcoming events, news and data pertaining to the Little Rock Zone.
The Little Rock Branch’s board of directors provides one of the most direct ways for Branch staff to gauge the economic conditions of the area. Representing all parts of the Little Rock Zone, the seven members of the board play a major role in helping the St. Louis Fed monitor the economic pulse of the area.
The St. Louis Fed’s Industry Councils are also a significant part of the conversation. The four councils—Health Care, Real Estate, Transportation and Agribusiness, the last of which is headed by the Little Rock regional executive—consist of industry leaders around the District who gather semiannually to discuss business conditions.
Executives from organizations throughout the Federal Reserve's Eighth District serve on the Bank’s Community Development Advisory Council. The executives represent nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, universities, government and foundations.
Members of the Educator Advisory Boards strengthen the Branch’s connections to schools and universities, and provide feedback about materials and opportunities for teachers.
The Little Rock Branch hosts and sponsors community development events and facilitates partnerships with local and regional nonprofits to ensure fair and equal access to credit for low-income populations.
The economic education staff promotes the teaching and learning of economics and personal finance. By working with advisory boards of local educators, the staff produces online curriculum and other lesson plans to benefit students in the region.