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Richmond Federal Reserve Headquarters on Capitol Square, 1939.


The Federal Reserve System was signed into law on December 23, 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson and was sponsored by Virginia State Senator Carter Glass. In 1914 the city of Richmond was selected to be the home to one of the 12 central bank locations and to serve the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The first Richmond branch president, George Seay, led the movement to bring the bank to the city. He cited many reasons, such as the city’s excellent geographic location and its contributions as a leading regional banking district in Virginia. Today the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond represents the Fifth Federal Reserve District and serves Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and most areas of West Virginia.

The Federal Reserve System was established as a “banker’s bank” but also as the fiscal agent of the U.S Treasury. The Federal Reserve System is composed of both public and private elements in order to uphold the integrity of the organization, keep the bank free from political agendas, and  hold The Federal Reserve System accountable for its actions and responsibilities. The Federal Reserve System has three key responsibilities which include conducting monetary policy, supervising and regulating financial institutions, and providing services to financial institutions. The Federal Reserve System conducts monetary policy that seeks to build price stability and maximize employment in today’s growing economy. The Federal Reserve System regulates other financial institutions by writing rules and guidelines that clearly define acceptable behavior and supervises these regulations through oversight and enforcement. The Federal Reserve System provides services for other financial institutions through payment services, check processing services, and electronic payment services.

Since the opening of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in 1914, the bank’s headquarters has had three locations in downtown Richmond. The first bank was located near the federal courts and opened in 1914. In 1921 the bank was relocated to historic Capitol Square, and operations continued there until 1978, when the bank was moved to the current  location on 701 East Byrd Street,overlooking the James River. Additional offices were opened to support the Richmond bank’s operations in Baltimore, Maryland in 1918 and in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1927. The mission of the Federal Reserve System is to “serve the public by fostering the stability, integrity and efficiency of our nation's monetary, financial and payments systems."

Citations: [The Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, a beautiful example of modern bank architecture]. Virginia New York World’s Fair Commission, [1939] The Virginia Room Exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. Library of Virginia. Richmond, VA " "Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond."" Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. <>"


CE.1, CE.13

Suggested Questions

Compare and Contrast: How does the monetary policy set by the Federal Reserve System help or hurt everyday consumers?


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