What Is the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is part of the decentralized central banking system known as the Federal Reserve System (FRS). The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is located in Richmond, Virginia and serves the Fifth Federal District.

Key Takeaways

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond comprises one of twelve reserve banks in the Federal Reserve System. 
  • The Richmond Fed serves the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which covers the states of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; 49 counties constituting most of West Virginia; and the District of Columbia.
  • It is headquartered in Richmond VA, with branch offices in Baltimore, MD, and Charlotte, NC.

Understanding the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is part of the central banking system of the United States government. Together, this system works to carry out the Federal Reserve’s daily operations. The bank is governed by a board of directors and supervised by the board of governors in Washington D.C. There are 12 regional reserve banks located throughout the United States. These banks help conduct monetary policy and work to keep the U.S. economy stable and strong. Each of these banks has a region that it is responsible for.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, in collaboration with the presidents of the other banks in the reserve and the governors of the board, meet every six weeks to set interest rates. This gathering is called the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Thomas I. Barkin took office on January 1, 2018, as the eighth president and chief executive officer of the Fifth District, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. In 2020, he serves as an alternate voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee.

All notes printed by the Richmond branch of the Federal Reserve are marked with the E5 insignia. This indicates that they were printed in the Fifth District. Richmond’s branch of the Federal Reserve is responsible for providing oversight and services to all branches located in the fifth district. The bank consists of more than 2,700 employees. 

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Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia 2020

Special Considerations

The Richmond Fed publishes research on numerous economic and financial topics, notably including research on corporate finance, unemployment, and the natural rate of interest. In cooperation with the Atlanta Fed and Duke University, the Richmond Fed’s CFO Survey measures business finance decision makers’ optimism for their firms’ financial prospects and the overall U.S. economy. The Richmond Fed also publishes an alternative data set, the Nonemployment Index, to comprehensively measure labor market health by considering unemployment, underemployment, and nonparticipation in the workforce, weighted by the likelihood that people in each respective category will transition back to employment. Lastly, the Richmond Fed publishes a monthly estimate of the natural rate of interest for the United States as an indicator to help guide domestic monetary policy. 

In addition to its monetary, financial, and research activities, the Richmond Fed also houses the Federal Reserve’s System IT organization, which delivers technology solutions and support across the Federal Reserve System. This is a critical function not only for administration, but for the basic operation of the Fed’s monetary and financial responsibilities and the electronic payments networks that allow funds to flow through the economy.