In 1981, the Department of Supervision and Regulation established a team of four individuals at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Miami Branch following an efficiency analysis of examinations and supervisory functions conducted throughout South Florida. Over the years, the team expanded with the growth of International activities and related supervision, and the decentralized structure has proven to be highly successful.
In 1997, Community Affairs, which is structured within Supervision and Regulation, similarly reached a point where we justified expanding to Miami because of our growing constituency. As our Community Affairs program emphasizes technical assistance and facilitation of partnerships, we soon realized that a Branch liaison can be more effective due to greater accessibility. In addition, local staff members are able to conduct more outreach, attend more functions, and stay more aware of local news and activities than Atlanta staff. Furthermore, Branch liaisons provide an added service to their Branch officers by being an on-site resource for community information.
This model’s success set the tone for creating a position in both our Nashville and Birmingham Branches in 1999, and the expansion also proved to be highly successful in our service to Tennessee and Alabama. In 2001, with the attrition of staff in Atlanta, we were able to complete the full Branch network by creating positions in the Federal Reserve’s remaining two Branches: Jacksonville and New Orleans. As a result, a team of six Branch liaisons now cover the six Branch geographical zones: Alabama, North Florida, South Florida, Georgia, Louisiana/Mississippi, and Tennessee. In addition, Jennifer Grier, who has been with us almost 10 years, brings invaluable assistance in coordinating functions such as training, conference planning, database development, publications, and special projects.
The current Community Affairs team has a combined skill set that we believe is second to none in any Community Affairs program anywhere. While that probably sounds biased, the credentials speak for themselves. Including my own background, the team presently has well over 100 years of combined experience in various specialties such as lending, micro-enterprise, small business incubators, investments, tax credits, rural development, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Community Development Corporations (CDCs), subprime and predatory lending, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), consumer compliance laws, urban planning, government programs, public policy, and Hispanic initiatives. This issue of Partners is an opportunity for us to showcase each Branch liaison on a current topic of interest. As an added feature, we have a guest column from a former Community Affairs liaison concerning predevelopment funding.
Finally, it is with great pride to announce our “branching out” into the new Federal Reserve building in Atlanta, which is shown above. After Community Affairs moved out of the main office “temporarily” in 1986, we have finally rejoined the rest of the Bank in its brand new facility at 1000 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. Along with the new address, we have a new telephone exchange: 498. (Our direct-dial extensions remain the same.) For your reference, the Department’s main telephone number is 404/498-7200 where we can all be reached.
With this full Branch network in place, we’re positioned optimally to serve you in promoting community and economic development and fair lending throughout the Southeast. We live in a dynamic time where challenges are a certainty, yet creativity and opportunity still abound. And we are well positioned to do our work in a way that makes a difference.