Fed district that includes Charlotte announces new president

Fed district that includes Charlotte announces new president

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, which monitors large banks in a district that includes Charlotte, announced a new president on Monday.

Thomas Barkin, chief risk officer for consulting firm McKinsey & Company, assumes the Fed role Jan. 1. He replaces Jeffrey Lacker, who abruptly retired this year after acknowledging he had improperly discussed sensitive information involving Fed policy with an analyst.

[Inside the vault at the Charlotte Federal Reserve branch]

Barkin, the organization’s eighth president, is not new to the Fed. He served on the board of directors for the Fed’s Atlanta district from 2009 to 2014, and chaired that board from 2013 to 2014.

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On Monday the Fed highlighted that Barkin’s duties at McKinsey have included overseeing offices in the South. In his new role at the Fed, Barkin will head the Fifth District which covers the Carolinas, Maryland, Virginia, most of West Virginia and the District of Columbia. He will also oversee examiners who monitor big banks such as Charlotte’s Bank of America.

In a statement, Margaret Lewis, chairwoman of the Richmond Fed’s board, said Barkin has unique insights on many industries “as well as a well-informed perspective on issues facing the Federal Reserve and our nation.” The Richmond Fed said a nationwide search was conducted to fill the role and that more than 700 candidates and candidate sources were identified.

Lacker, a frequent dissenting voice at the central bank who criticized financial industry bailouts, had announced in January that he was retiring in October. He had served in his role since 2004.

In resigning in April, Lacker disclosed speaking Oct. 2, 2012, with an analyst with Medley Global Advisors, which publishes research on economic policy for hedge funds and other institutions. In the conversation, the analyst brought up an “important non-public detail” that had been discussed by Fed officials before their September meeting, Lacker said in a statement in April, adding that he should have “declined to comment and perhaps have ended the phone call.”

Charlotte is home to one of the Fifth District’s two branch banks. The other is in Baltimore.

In Charlotte, the branch spans an entire city block across from the Spectrum Center, where millions of dollars in bills are kept underground in a three-story vault encased in steel. That money is shipped daily by armored vehicles to and from North and South Carolina banks with agreements to store it at the Fed. The establishment in 1927 of the Fed’s Charlotte office gave a big boost to the city’s reputation as a financial center.

In a statement, Barkin, 56, said he was honored by his appointment and that he deeply supports the central bank’s public service mission.

He also said he planned to be heavily engaged in learning more about the challenges and opportunities facing communities in the Fifth District.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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