Pieces of Eight: News Bulletins from the Eighth Federal Reserve District

Open-Door Policy

For years, the St. Louis Fed has given tours of its facility to educational and employee groups interested in obtaining a first-hand view of one of the country's 12 Reserve Banks. Starting in 1997, the tour program has expanded to accommodate families, vacationers and other "non-group" visitors, too.

"Walk-in" tours are now available at 11 a.m. on Fridays, starting in the Bank's main lobby, which is at 411 Locust St. The 45-minute presentation outlines the Fed's responsibilities in formulating monetary policy, providing financial services, and supervising and regulating financial institutions. Visitors are also privy to up-close views of the Bank's Protection and Cash departments, including the vault.

The Bank's core tour program will continue to operate as usual, offering tours to groups of 10 to 42 persons, high school age and older, at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information on either type of tour, contact Tammy Stutes at (314) 444-8560.

NET Sports New Look in '97

Good news for data junkies: National Economic Trends, the St. Louis Fed publication that provides a comprehensive monthly briefing on the state of the U.S. economy, has been redesigned to include even more data and better comparisons. While the publication still reports, rather than analyzes, monthly and quarterly nationwide data, it now concentrates on graphical presentation of the data. The changes, says Fed economist and publication editor Joe Ritter, should make the data more digestible and ease comparisons across time and between series. The publication also now includes greater coverage of asset markets and international trade. Single-copy subscriptions to NET are free and can be ordered by calling (314) 444-8808. NET and the underlying data are also available electronically through the St. Louis Fed's home page at www.stls.frb.org.

Banking Data at Your Fingertips

Just about anything you'd ever want to know about a U.S. bank or thrift is now available online through the FDIC's new "Institution Directory System."

The system contains financial and demographic information on more than 12,000 banks and thrifts. Quarterly financial statistics available on the site include: earnings, deposit and loan data, and loan quality measures like charge-offs. The financial data are available for the last three years, enabling a user to look at a bank's financial performance relative to previous years.

The system can be found by clicking on "Data Bank" and then "Institution Directory" on the FDIC's home page (www.fdic.gov).

Economical Education—District State Colleges Cost Less

District State Rank Among 50 States 1996 State College Costs1
Illinois 16 $7,829
Indiana 18 7,392
Missouri 24 6,750
Kentucky 40 5,455
Mississippi 42 5,425
Tennessee 44 5,372
Arkansas 48 5,064
National Average   $7,013

1 Average undergraduate tuition and fees and room and board at public colleges and universities

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education


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