Welcome to the Memphis Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, serving western Tennessee, eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi. The 90-plus members of our staff supervise banks, offer cash services for such institutions, participate in community development efforts and provide economic education, among other duties.
This year the Memphis Branch celebrates 100 years serving the people of our region. In 1918 the Branch first started on a seasonal basis with the facilitation of cotton receipts as collateral to notes tendered at the discount window. We opened our first permanent building merely months before the Wall Street crash of 1929. We then moved to our current location at 200 North Main Street in 1972. I echo the thoughts of former St. Louis Fed President Delos C. Johns when I say that I see the future of the Memphis Zone being one where we continue to build slowly and have great timing in meeting the needs of our current economic environment and work towards a more prosperous future.
One of my top priorities is to gather information on the economy in this area and pass it on to those in our St. Louis office who are involved in monetary policymaking and related research. Gathering such information is also a major role of the Branch's board of directors. Representing all parts of the Memphis Zone, the seven members of our board help us monitor the economic pulse of this part of the Midsouth. Similarly, we have business leaders from throughout the Zone who sit on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Industry Councils, which keep St. Louis Fed President James Bullard up-to-date on four industries that are especially key to the economic health of the Eighth Federal Reserve District: agribusiness, health care, real estate and transportation. Each of the four councils is supported by one of the four offices of the St. Louis Fed. The Memphis Branch supports the Transportation Council because of the large transportation-focused businesses located here.
The sharing of economic information isn’t a one-way street. What President Bullard and his staff of economists learn about the economy is shared, whenever possible, with us on “Main Street,” by which I mean not only the staff in this office, but business and other civic leaders across the District, as well as the general public. This knowledge is conveyed in a variety of ways—in one-on-one meetings and speeches open to all, over the Internet in webinars and videos, in print publications and in the classroom. And the information isn’t just about what’s happening at the District, national or global level; it’s often specific to the Memphis Zone, examples of which can be seen by going to the Economic Reports button on the Zone’s website.Although I’ve only recently joined the St. Louis Fed, I’ve long known about this office’s commitment to the community, having worked in other capacities in Memphis for years. I plan to continue this tradition. My staff and I will be actively involved with community boards and organizations throughout the area.