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About the Dallas Fed

History of the Dallas Fed

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Signers of the Federal Reserve Bank organizational certificate, May 18, 1914.

"Texas Wants Reserve Bank," proclaimed the Texas Bankers Record in February 1914. Eager Texans from Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston made passionate pleas at the Reserve Bank Organization committee hearing that February in Austin to have a Reserve Bank in their cities.

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 directed officials to choose no fewer than eight and no more than 12 cities as sites of Federal Reserve Banks, and Dallas supporters were determined to have their city selected. Dallas Morning News publisher George B. Dealey and Dallas Clearinghouse representative J. Howard Ardrey led the way in promoting Dallas and rallying support in Washington, D.C. Dealey and Ardrey sent coded telegrams to two influential Texans in Washington. Addressing the telegrams to "Mercury" and "Tacitus" to ensure confidentiality, Dealey communicated with Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson and presidential adviser E. M. House to find out how Dallas was doing in the race.

When it was learned that the postmaster general was coming to Texas on a personal business trip, Ardrey and News reporter Tom Finty "accidentally" took the same train as Burleson, riding with him from St. Louis to Dallas. Ardrey recalled later that the train ride gave him a "long and uninterrupted interview with [Burleson], in which we succeeded not only in convincing him that Dallas should be the choice, but also in arousing his enthusiastic interest." Burleson and House took the city’s case to the secretary of the Treasury and to President Woodrow Wilson himself.

In April 1914, News publisher Dealey received a telegram from Burleson indicating that Dallas would become the headquarters of the Fed’s Eleventh District. The Reserve Bank Organization committee stated that it chose the 12 cities it felt were the most important in terms of banking resources, central location, and communication and transportation facilities. Though Dallas and New Orleans had comparably sized banking operations at the time, the committee thought it especially noteworthy that the banking business in Dallas had more than doubled in the past decade while that in New Orleans had remained stable.

On October 16, 1914, the first official meeting of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board of directors was held in the Directors' Room at City National Bank of Dallas, and on November 16, 1914, the Dallas Fed opened for business.

Significant Events in the History of the Dallas Fed

President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act, creating a system for orderly and stable economic growth in a nation unsettled by a string of financial panics.

Dallas is selected as the site of the Federal Reserve Bank for the Eleventh District, an area encompassing Texas and parts of New Mexico, Louisiana, Arizona and Oklahoma. The Dallas Fed opens on Nov. 16.

Oscar Wells is appointed the first governor (later called president) of the Dallas Fed. He would serve until 1915.

R.L. Van Zandt is named the Bank's first vice president.

R.L. Van Zandt is named the Dallas Fed's second governor (president), serving until 1922.

J.W. Hoopes is appointed first vice president.

The Dallas Fed begins clearing checks for about 75 district banks.

The United States enters World War I, and the Dallas Fed begins selling Liberty Loan Bonds to help finance the war.

The El Paso Branch of the Dallas Fed is established.

The Houston Branch of the Dallas Fed opens its doors.

Lynn P. Talley is named first vice president.

The Dallas Fed moves into its new headquarters—a classical revival-style building—at 400 S. Akard Street.

R.G. Emerson is appointed first vice president.

B.A. McKinney is appointed the third governor (president) of the Dallas Fed. He would serve until 1925.

R.R. Gilbert and Val J. Grund are named first vice presidents, beginning a 12-year period in which the Bank had two FVPs.

Former First Vice President Lynn P. Talley begins his six-year tenure as the fourth governor (president) of the Dallas Fed.

R.B. Coleman is appointed first vice president, replacing Val J. Grund. Coleman would serve until 1936.

The San Antonio Branch of the Dallas Fed opens.

B.A. McKinney, for the second time, is named the Bank's president, serving until 1939.

The Depression triggers widespread fears about the strength of the nation's banks, and the Federal Reserve initiates a program to provide relief loans to banks and other financial institutions. The Dallas Fed cautions banks: "Credit is exactly like morphine. Either credit or morphine used habitually leads inevitably to the gutter."

The U.S. banking system collapses, and President Franklin Roosevelt declares a national banking moratorium on March 6. The Dallas Fed remains closed until March 13.

In view of the scarcity of jobs during the Depression, the Dallas Fed issues a policy that no married women will be employed at the Bank or at any of its branches.

Congress passes the Banking Act of 1933, strengthening the Fed's control over speculative loans and creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The Federal Reserve Retirement System is established.

The Dallas Fed launches a comprehensive bank visitation program to foster friendly relations with member banks and enable the Fed to serve them more effectively.

R.R. Gilbert is appointed the sixth president of the Dallas Fed. He would serve until 1953.

E.B. Stroud is appointed first vice president, replacing R.R. Gilbert.

The chairman of the board of the Dallas Fed announces his appointment as a major in the U.S. Army, and the board grants him a leave of absence. More than 400 male employees depart for the military, and the Fed hires more women than ever before in its history.

The War Manpower Commission designates the nation's Federal Reserve Banks as essential activities. Employees are prohibited from changing jobs without a statement of availability. A critical labor shortage is declared in Dallas.

W.D. Gentry is named first vice president.

The Fed issues a new vacation policy granting three weeks vacation to employees with 20 or more years of service.

The Dallas Fed officially adopts the 40-hour, five-day work week.

The Dallas Fed begins to mechanize its check processing operations. The Bank installs IBM 803 proof machines to list and balance checks cleared, a process previously handled manually.

An automated funds transfer system connects the Dallas Fed with Federal Reserve Banks nationwide. The system, which replaced older Teletype equipment, enables the quick, electronic transfer of funds across the country.

Watrous H. Irons is named the Bank's seventh president, serving until 1968.

The Dallas Fed moves closer to full automation by creating the Machine Processing Department to coordinate the mechanization of the Bank’s operations and services.

The Dallas Fed prepares for the Atomic Age by instituting an Emergency Preparedness Program, delegating emergency authority to the Board of Governors.

Harry Schuford is appointed first vice president.

Hurricane Carla batters the Texas Gulf Coast for seven days, causing damages estimated at $300 million. The Dallas Fed and its Houston and San Antonio Branches deliver currency and coin and help untangle banking operations in the Gulf Coast area.

The Dallas Fed participates in a pilot program using prototype high-speed check machines. A survey shows that well over half the banks in the Eleventh District have begun encoding their checks.

The new computer room becomes a popular stop for Bank tours after the installation of the IBM 1401 computer, one of the area's first electronic accounting computers. Philip E. Coldwell is named first vice president.

The Dallas Fed permanently installs its first high-speed machine to process checks encoded with the magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) language. By 1967, MICR encoding would be mandatory for all check payments.

The Federal Reserve Bank institutes a book-entry program for handling Treasury Department securities. For the first time, written records of computer entries constitute securities ownership, with or without the holding of the actual security in a bank vault. The book-entry system greatly increases storage capacity of the Dallas Bank and its Branches.

First Vice President Philip E. Coldwell is appointed the eighth president of the Dallas Fed. His tenure would end in 1974.

Thomas W. Plant is named first vice president.

The first Regional Check Processing Center is established at the Dallas Fed, operating from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Eventually, 75 percent of all checks at the Bank would be processed overnight.

Ernest T. Baughman is named the Dallas Fed's ninth president.

The Bank tests its first R.E.I. March II, a high-speed currency sorting machine that automatically sorts currency by denomination, identifies counterfeits and shreds unfit notes. Previously, currency sorting and shredding was a manual process. After its introduction in Dallas, the machine is accepted at Federal Reserve Banks nationwide.

The Dallas Fed processes the first automated clearinghouse (ACH) payment in the Eleventh District. The ACH program enables participating banks to offer direct deposit, preauthorized payments and other automated financial services.

Robert H. Boykin is appointed first vice president.

The City of Dallas designates the headquarters of the Dallas Fed as a historical landmark.

Congress passes the Monetary Control Act, authorizing the Federal Reserve to establish prices for its financial services and make them available to non-member institutions. The number of institutions with reserves or reports on file at the Bank jumps from 705 to 3,475.

First Vice President Robert H. Boykin is named the tenth president of the Dallas Fed.

William Wallace is appointed first vice president.

The State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, becomes the first financial institution in the Eleventh District to communicate with the Dallas Fed by personal computer. Microcomputers linking the Dallas Fed with other banks soon begin providing electronic access to Fed services.

Oil prices fall to below $12 per barrel, causing economic turmoil across Texas.

State and administrative rulings pave the way for branch banking in Texas.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas commemorates its 75th anniversary.

After a devastating decade for the banking industry, bank failures in the Eleventh District bottom out, signaling the beginning of economic recovery. From 1980 to 1992, more than 500 financial institutions fail in the Eleventh District.

The Dallas Fed breaks ground on a new headquarters building at 2200 N. Pearl St.

Baltimore Branch manager Robert D. McTeer Jr. is named the Bank's eleventh president.

Tony Salvaggio is appointed first vice president.

The Dallas Fed moves into its state-of-the-art facility at 2200 N. Pearl Street, the Bank’s first new headquarters in 71 years.

The Dallas Fed installs new high-speed currency processing machines with more advanced counterfeit detection capabilities. These machines sort 80,000 bills per hour.

The Dallas Fed helps launch Alliance '98, an initiative in the Eleventh District to encourage the transition from paper check payments to electronic payments.

Helen E. Holcomb is named first vice president.

An expansion of the Dallas Fed’s currency vault triples its storage capacity and enables the Bank to warehouse currency for other Federal Reserve Banks and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The Dallas Fed develops the National Examination Database (NED) that gives all Reserve Banks a single source for information on financial institutions.

The Bank implements a risk-based approach to bank supervision that reduces the number of bank examinations in the District.

Preparations intensify for the century date change and its impact on computer systems. The Dallas Fed offers opportunities for financial institutions to test their computer interfaces for Year 2000 compliance.

The U.S. Treasury selects the Dallas Fed to provide three new services:

Along with Reserve Banks in Boston and Minneapolis, the Dallas Fed is chosen to operate a consolidated service center for TreasuryDirect, a program of the Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt that allows investors to buy securities directly from the Treasury without the need for brokers or banks.
The Dallas Fed is selected as the nation's central processor for Treasury coupons.
The Treasury chooses the Dallas Fed to manage the national Electronic Transfer Account (ETA) program, which targets millions of federal benefit recipients currently receiving payment by check.
Because of extensive Y2K preparations and close working relationships with financial industry customers, the Dallas Fed ensures a high level of readiness that pays off in a quiet, orderly transition from 1999 to the year 2000.

Y2K arrives with no major disruptions in Federal Reserve computer operations.

As part of the four-year Check Standardization Project, the Bank's Information Technology Services begins design on a program that will allow banks to access Fed check services via the Internet.

TreasuryDirect begins operation to handle roughly a third of the U.S. Treasury's 750,000 accounts.

To deter a panic among financial institutions following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., the Fed releases this statement: "The Federal Reserve System is open and operating. The discount window is available to meet liquidity needs."

The Houston Branch breaks ground on a four-story 280,000-square-foot facility west of downtown. The building is dedicated to Houstonian and former Fed Governor Edward "Mike" Kelley. Scheduled completion date is 2005.

Reflecting the ongoing shift in consumer and business preferences from checks to electronic payments, the Federal Reserve announces it will decrease its check processing locations. The restructuring includes consolidating processing at the San Antonio and El Paso branches to Dallas and consolidating adjustment services to the Houston Branch.

As part of the Series-2004 currency redesign, the U.S. Treasury issues a new $20 bill, incorporating enhanced security features to thwart counterfeiters. The new bill marks the first use of colors other than green and black since the Series 1905 $20 Gold Certificate. The first $20 bill put into circulation by the Dallas Fed is spent by Texas football legend Earl Campbell at the State Fair of Texas.

The Bureau of the Public Debt announces that its TreasuryDirect and Savings Bond services, including those performed at the Dallas Fed, would be consolidated to the Fed's Minneapolis and Pittsburgh offices by June 2005.

The Dallas Fed recognizes 90 years of public service.

San Antonio and El Paso branch check processing operations are successfully consolidated to Dallas.

The Federal Reserve System announces that check processing operations at the Houston and Oklahoma City branches would be consolidated to Dallas by 2006.

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21) becomes effective October 28, making it easier for banks to electronically transfer check images instead of physically transporting the original paper check.

Dallas Fed President Robert D. McTeer Jr. resigns his position to become chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. First Vice President Helen E. Holcomb is selected as the Bank's acting president and chief executive officer.

As the 28th coin in the state memorial quarter series, the Texas quarter is introduced and put into circulation.

Dallas Fed employee Madeline Vaughan retires after 60 years of service, making her the longest-tenured employee in the Federal Reserve System.

Dallas Fed Research Associate Finn Kydland is awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

The U.S. Treasury launches Go Direct to enroll federal benefit payment recipients in direct deposit. The Dallas Fed is selected as the pilot program’s call center.

Richard W. Fisher, vice chairman of Kissinger McLarty Associates, begins his duties as the Bank's 12th president and chief executive officer.

Check processing operations for the Dallas Fed’s Houston Branch and the Kansas City Fed’s Oklahoma City Branch are successfully consolidated to the Dallas office.

The Federal Reserve System announces that cash services provided to financial institutions by the Oklahoma City Branch will transition to a cash depot arrangement with service provided by the Dallas Fed.

Houston Branch begins operations at a new building located at 1801 Allen Parkway. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan delivers the keynote address at the commissioning ceremony.

The Dallas Fed’s Treasury Services team processes the 1 millionth enrollment in the U.S. Treasury’s Go Direct initiative.

The Dallas Fed establishes the Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute to research the effects of globalization on U.S. monetary policy.

Kansas City check processing functions are consolidated to Dallas Fed.

The El Paso Branch celebrates 50 years at 301 E. Main St.

Denver and Helena check processing functions are consolidated to Dallas Fed.

Dallas Fed Payments Services winds down operations.

Cleveland Fed to become centralized check processing site for the Federal Reserve System. Atlanta Fed to become centralized electronic check processing site for Federal Reserve System.

The Dallas Fed is selected to host the Go Direct Contact Center to support the U.S. Treasury’s All-Electronic Treasury Initiative to enroll all federal benefit recipients in direct deposit by 2013.


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Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

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