SF Fed Blog

5 Fintech Trends Shaping Finance in Asia

Friday, March 3, 2017

Shanghai Cityscape

While San Francisco Fed headquarters sits a few miles away from the world’s leading technology hub in Silicon Valley, many of the most innovative developments in financial technology (fintech) are happening across the Pacific. Here are five fintech trends shaping finance, banking, and banking regulation in Asia. Read more

What’s the Value of Cash in a Digital Payments Landscape?

Monday, February 27, 2017

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When you’re out with friends and the check comes, do you reach out your wrist or for your wallet or phone? For younger consumers, the choice is often cash before a peer-to-peer payment app, according to Wendy Matheny, manager of market analysis with the Federal Reserve’s Cash Product Office (CPO). Read more

What’s Limiting Upward Economic Mobility?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Young man sitting on path

Work hard and you’ll achieve success and have a higher income than your parents. That’s the American dream. Yet thousands of struggling Americans are realizing that determination isn’t always enough, and it’s difficult to get ahead when you’re always behind. Here are five important things to know about economic mobility challenges holding people back. Read more

5 Fun Football Cash Facts

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Football

How much cash does it take to cover a football field? How many notes can the Fed process during a 30-second commercial? We have the answers to these questions and a few more to help you get warmed up for the big game. Read more

Top 5 Economic Letters of 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016

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Which economic issues got people talking in 2016? From wages to a low natural real rate of interest, check out the most viewed and shared SF Fed Economic Letters published since our 2015 roundup. Read more

SF Fed’s Williams: Long-Run U.S. Economic Health a Global Issue

Friday, December 23, 2016

Global Currency

The expected normalization of interest rates reflects a healthy U.S. economy. But this is occurring in an environment of persistently low global interest rates. SF Fed President John C. Williams, in a recent interview with The New York Times, recognized that what happens abroad can influence the domestic outlook and monetary policy. Read more

‘Tis the Season for Cash

Friday, December 9, 2016

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When it comes to consumer spending, there’s no time like the holidays. So, Federal Reserve Banks across the country are busy ensuring that commercial banks have a sufficient supply of cash to meet consumer demand during the biggest shopping time of year. Read more

SF Fed Pattern Library Is Now Public

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Mosaic Tile Pattern

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Pattern Library, a living style guide for our website’s user experience design, is available now on GitHub. Read more

Remembering Teresa M. Curran

Monday, November 14, 2016

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It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of our friend and colleague, Executive Vice President Teresa Curran, who led our Financial Institution Supervision and Credit Division (FISC). Read more

The More Things Change, Cash Remains

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Image of cash, pen and diary

The Federal Reserve’s Cash Product Office just released new preliminary findings from the 2015 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice. The study shows that while new payment options are emerging and gaining popularity, cash is still the most frequently used retail payment instrument. Read more

Cash Myths Busted

Friday, October 21, 2016

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Money myths abound. How many do you believe? See if you can separate cash facts from fiction with a quick seven-question quiz from the Federal Reserve’s Cash Product Office. Read more

Raising the Speed Limit on the Slow Growth Economy

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 Council for Economic Education Conference

The SF Fed Economic Education team attended the National Council on Economic Education Conference in Phoenix, AZ, on Friday, October 7. Economist Mary Daly also attended, speaking about the importance of investing in human capital to raise the speed limit on the slow growth economy. Read more

Notes on the Go: Currency in Circulation Explained

Friday, September 30, 2016

Photo of United States currency in front of American flag

Each day, millions of U.S. banknotes circulate throughout the economy. How much currency is out there? What factors influence currency demand? A new infographic from the Federal Reserve’s Cash Product Office explains the basics. Read more

How You Shop Affects How You Pay

Friday, September 16, 2016

Photo of man holding wallet with cash credit cards

Whether you’re shopping for groceries, back-to-school supplies, or season tickets, modern commerce provides many ways to shop and pay for purchases. A new infographic from the Federal Reserve’s Cash Product Office (CPO) shows how the decision to shop in person, online, or on-demand can influence your payment choice. Read more

District Voices Go to Washington

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Image of Twelfth Federal Reserve District Voices Reaching FOMC in Washington DC

How do business and community voices make their way to monetary policy decision makers in Washington D.C.? Often through Federal Reserve Bank branches. SF Fed branch managers share how they gain insights into the issues and concerns affecting people and micro-economies in their areas. Read more

Can the SF Bay Area Solve Its Affordable Housing Crisis?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

San Francisco Housing City Hall

Sky-high rents and a competitive real estate market have created a housing crisis of epic proportions in California and especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. What can be done at the city level to create more affordable housing now? Read more

Is Fintech Changing Banking Supervision?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Image of Federal Reserve Building and Cash

Financial technology is changing the dynamics of banking and how financial institutions deliver their products and services. Even though the Fed doesn’t regulate these companies as a general rule, banking regulators are closely watching fintech. Here’s why. Read more

SF Fed’s Banner of Love

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SF Fed LGBT Pride One Bank Logo

On June 15, more than 300 Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco employees gathered in front of SF Fed headquarters to form a Banner of Love, a human LGBT Pride banner. Read more

Do People Carry Cash? We Asked

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Photo of Cash Policy Analyst Claire Wang

Eighty-nine percent of consumers hold cash to some extent, according to the Federal Reserve’s Cash Product Office. In the new Cash Connect video, Policy Analyst Claire Wang asked people on the streets of San Francisco about their spending habits to find out who holds cash. She received a variety of responses. Read more

What’s the Fed’s Balance Sheet?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Close up of seal on Federal Reserve Note

Federal Reserve policy actions have increased the size of the Fed’s balance sheet to about $4.5 trillion. But what exactly is the Fed’s balance sheet? Here’s the answer from Glenn Rudebusch, director of SF Fed Economic Research. Read more

New $20 Note to Feature Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Harriet Tubman

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew today announced plans for the new $20, $10 and $5 notes, with the portrait of Harriet Tubman to be featured on the front of the new $20. Read more

2015 Annual Report

Monday, April 11, 2016

Image of 2015 Annual Report What We've Learned and why it matters

In the 2015 annual report, What We’ve Learned…and why it matters, find out how changes in demographics, and in employer and worker needs, have created a “new normal” in the U.S. labor market. Plus, learn how China’s economic slowdown is affecting global economic activity. Read more

President’s Speech Easter Eggs

Thursday, March 24, 2016

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SF Fed President John Williams had fun with a few of his recent speeches, sprinkling in references to some of his favorite songs and artists. How many of these seven do you recognize? Read more

Williams’ Public Speaking Events to Be Streamed Online

Friday, March 18, 2016

Photo of John Williams speech streaming iPhone

Open and transparent communication is a cornerstone of effective monetary policy, and technology keeps giving us new ways to reach the public. In that spirit, I’m pleased to announce that the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco will begin livestreaming my public speaking engagements whenever possible. Read more

Pathways to Economic Opportunity

Friday, March 11, 2016

Photo of 2016 NICRC tour of the Los Angeles river

“Prosperity is like a Jenga tower: Take one piece out and the whole thing can fall,” said SF Fed President John Williams in his keynote at the 2016 National Community Reinvestment Conference. Couldn’t make it to the event? Get the highlights and take a video tour exploring Los Angeles river revitalization efforts. Read more

Cash Stands Ready Rain or Shine

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

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Meteorologists predicted that this year’s El Niño climate pattern would bring an onslaught of much-needed rain and snow to drought-stricken California. While storms haven’t hit the West Coast with the severity expected, Reserve Banks remain at the ready to get cash to commercial banks during any major weather events, right when it’s needed most. Read more

7 Things You May Not Know About U.S. Currency

Monday, February 8, 2016

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Is the $1 note full of mystic symbolism? Can you name who’s on the $50? This President’s Day, explore little-known facts about U.S. currency design and the presidents that grace our notes. Read more

Who Holds Cash?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Image of woman holding $100 US note

Everyone has a different relationship with cash. Some carry and use it regularly while others never carry cash. Still others keep it on hand for emergencies but prefer a debit or credit card for everyday purchases. Can these behaviors provide insight into the future of cash holding for consumers? Read more

Breaking Down Barriers to Financial Well-being

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Photo of Laura Choi and David Erickson, SF Fed Community Development

Ensuring the financial well-being of families could be the key to strengthening the American economy. Laura Choi and Dr. David Erickson of SF Fed Community Development sat down to discuss the issue, the focus of their new essay, Toward a New Business Model. Read more

Top 10 Economic Letters of 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 FRBSF Economic Letter Research Recap

Economic growth, wages, and housing prices were trending online for Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Research in 2015. Here’s a roundup of the year’s most popular Economic Letters. Read more

Fed Raises Rates: Decision Overview

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fed Chair Janet Yellen Speaks at FOMC Press Conference, December 2015

After months of speculation by pundits and economists, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, to raise rates. Here’s an overview of the decision and what it means for the SF Fed. Read more

Inside the $5 Savings Plan

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Image of $5 US Currency in Savings Jar

Want to pay down debt or take control of spending? The answer may not be in saving your pennies, but in setting aside your $5 notes. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco explores the trend. Read more

Remembering Douglas W. Shorenstein

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Douglas W. Shorenstein, our former Chairman of the Board. Today John C. Williams, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, shared his condolences with SF Fed employees and Doug’s friends and family. Read more

10 Questions Reveal Consumers’ Payment Preferences

Monday, September 21, 2015

Payment diary game imagery

Cash, debit, credit, check, or electronic payment: Which would you use to pay for a $1.50 cup of coffee? A $350 plane ticket? A $72 utility bill? In ten questions, find out if your payment preferences reflect national consumer trends with the Payment Diary Game. Read more

Does College Pay?

Friday, August 28, 2015

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With tuition costs on the rise, casting doubt on the value of a four-year degree has become a national pastime. Look beyond the hype and at hard data, though, and you’ll find it still pays to pursue a college education. Mary C. Daly, SF Fed Associate Director of Research, crunches the numbers. Read more

What Everyone Needs to Know About the Community Reinvestment Act

Monday, August 24, 2015

Row of apartments and storefronts representing community

Every year, banks infuse hundreds of millions in capital into our district’s low and moderate income communities, thanks, in part, to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). These loans and investments help support affordable housing, small business, and other local resources. In this short video, get to know the provisions of the CRA and how they affect you. Read more

Ensuring Confidence in Cash, One Note at a Time

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stacks of $100 Federal Reserve Notes

The Federal Reserve Board ordered 7.2 billion Federal Reserve notes for 2015, and a significant number of currency notes change hands every day in the United States. The Federal Reserve is on the front lines of identifying potential counterfeit threats and monitoring the quality of the cash you use every day. Find out how in Maintaining Confidence in U.S. Currency, a video by the Federal Reserve’s national Cash Product Office (CPO). Read more

How Cash Gets Into Circulation

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How does currency get into circulation?

Ever wonder how cash gets from the U.S. Treasury to your local bank and ATMs? Follow the money with this quick explainer, and find out where Federal Reserve Banks fit into the process. Read more

Building a More Resilient U.S. Banking System

Friday, May 22, 2015

Financial Crisis Bank Resiliency

Following widespread banking failures resulting from the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve and other regulators began 10 key efforts to make banks more resilient. Explained in our article, How Is Banking Safer Following the Financial Crisis? Read more

President Williams’ Views on the Value of Lifelong Learning [SLIDESHARE]

Monday, May 4, 2015

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President and CEO John C. Williams

San Francisco Fed President and CEO John C. Williams discusses the value of higher education as a foundation for lifelong learning. The arc of one’s life and career choices are influenced by the continuous pursuit of knowledge, and even lessons that don’t appear to have a pragmatic purpose are vital to our success later in life. Read more

How does the Fed determine how much money to print every year?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sheet of freshly-printed $20 bills.

7.2 billion. That is how many Federal Reserve Notes the Board of Governors ordered with the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in 2015. What factors influence the Board’s decision when calculating how much new U.S. currency to order every year? Read more

Does College Matter?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

SF Fed Annual Report 2014: Does College Matter?

As the price of higher education continues to rise, does a college education’s return on investment still add up? A series of essays authored by San Francisco Fed President and CEO John C. Williams, Senior Vice President and Associate Director of Research Mary C. Daly, Research Associate Yifan Cao, and Senior Economic Education Manager Jody Hoff, argue that the answer is a resounding yes. The essays are included in the San Francisco Fed’s 2014 Annual Report, Does College Matter? Read more

How the Fed disposes of old cash

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shredded U.S. currency

The Federal Reserve System is doing more to limit the environmental impact of currency. In 2014, Reserve Bank Cash Services produced 6,166 tons of shredded currency residue across its 28 operations and recycled 89 percent (5,467 tons) using various alternatives to landfills. Read more

Artists in community and economic development

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hand holding a paintbrush up to a canvass.

Can artists play a role in community development?

Over 400 community organizers, advocates and artists explored that question at a recent San Francisco Fed conference focused on a new community development strategy called creative placemaking. Read more

San Francisco’s low-income residents are moving out

Monday, February 2, 2015

Young woman carrying several large moving boxes across the street.

A growing number of fast-expanding technology companies, from Twitter to Salesforce, and their well-paid engineers and executives now call San Francisco home.

But that’s increasingly difficult to do for individuals who make less than $35,000 a year, according to a recent report by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. Read more

Using data to improve lives in low-income communities

Monday, January 19, 2015

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In the business trend called big data, technology is used to mine massive amounts of information to boost sales and profit. Businesses now use sophisticated software to comb through emails, Twitter and Facebook posts, and even smartphone signals to target customers or roll out new products. But while it’s revolutionizing the business world, could big data also be used for taking on poverty and other social challenges? Read more

More single-family homes for rent: A trend in focus

Monday, January 5, 2015

More Single Family Homes for Rent

More single-family homes were being built compared to the previous year as 2014 drew to a close, underscoring a strengthening real estate market.

But another trend is drawing attention for its potential impact on the housing market and struggling families: a growing number of single-family homes are now for rent. Read more

The San Francisco Fed at 100

Monday, December 22, 2014

IBM proof machines, 1951. These check processing machines were first installed at the San Francisco head office in 1944. By 1951, San Francisco had 37 machines in operation.

The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank celebrated its 100th anniversary last May.

It’s an ideal time to reflect on the role the SF Fed has played in the major changes in the American economy over the past century. Read more

Despite Apple Pay buzz, cash is still popular

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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The coming after-Thanksgiving shopping season will no doubt highlight the growth of mobile payments, a trend that just received a big boost with the rollout of Apple Pay.

But despite the buzz around the iPhone-maker’s mobile wallet, a recent study points to a conclusion many may find surprising: cash is still popular. Read more