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Our Strategic Direction: The Big Picture


David A. Sapenaro
Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' strategic direction is near and dear to my heart; I've been helping to steer it for several years. As a new chief operating officer, one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure that our constituents and employees understand where our organization is headed, and I would like to share that direction with you in this article.

Our strategic direction includes the following:

First: We seek to advance economic knowledge and to influence national macroeconomic policy through our economic research activities. While all of our work at the Bank is important, we believe our research work is our most important responsibility as a Reserve bank and, consequently, our most important goal. Through its research activities, the St. Louis Fed delivers valuable advice to President Bill Poole to use when he contributes to monetary policy decisions at Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

Second: We want to lead the Federal Reserve System's efforts to provide exceptional services to the U.S. Treasury. At its creation in 1913, the Federal Reserve was designated as fiscal agent for the U.S. Treasury-in short, the federal government's banker and service provider. A hallmark of the St. Louis Bank for the last 20-plus years has been our support for the Treasury's payments, collections and cash management activities. In 2001, we added the Treasury Relations and Support Office role to our list of Treasury responsibilities. In this capacity, we serve as the liaison between the Fed and the Treasury.

Third: We want to strengthen the ties with constituents in the District and broaden audiences for our public programs. This goal encompasses the various non-financial services programs we offer to our constituents in the region, including economic education, community development-related services and regional economic research. Consistent with our mission, we seek to be an externally focused organization that is providing needed services.

In support of this goal, over the last couple of years we have made a concerted effort to offer more of these services, particularly in our branch regions of Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis. We're also devoting more resources to producing economic research on topics that are beneficial to local business, community and government leaders in the Eighth District. For example, recently we held a public forum on predatory lending here in St. Louis, and this July, we'll examine just what it is that makes a business not only choose a city in which to locate, but also a specific neighborhood.

Fourth: We want to be a distinctive provider of banking supervision, check collection and cash services. Our goal is to provide you with high-quality products and services in a customer-oriented manner and to do so at the highest levels of efficiency and productivity.

By holding to our planned strategic direction, we hope that the St. Louis Fed will continue to be a strong leader in economic research, community-focused services and financial services.