An Overview of Our 2015 Annual Report

John Williams, president and chief executive officer, and Mark Gould, first vice president, welcome you to the San Francisco Fed’s 2015 annual report, “What We’ve Learned…and why it matters” (video, 3:09).

In our 2015 annual report, What We've Learned…and why it matters, we reflect on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's efforts to create a growing, sustainable economy for everyone. The report looks across teams and disciplines, from economic research to human resources, shedding light on various points of view and approaches to our work. You’ll see the faces and hear the voices of San Francisco Fed employees from across functions—curious people who are committed to learning and to public service. It's an honest look back at what we’ve learned and why it matters.


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John Williams:

Annual reports are often dense and tedious documents that attempt to capture a moment in time. They're commonly used to take stock of an institution's progress and tend to report exclusively about good news. We're proud to say there are a lot of good things happening at the San Francisco Fed.

Mark Gould:

But we're not taking that approach this year. Instead, we're offering a variety of media content to capture how the Bank is developing as we collectively work to fulfill our public mission. Of course, we're going to highlight some of our successes. But it's also important to be self-reflective and ask the question, "What have we learned, and why we believe it matters?"

John Williams:

Now, at some levels, it really isn’t a new approach for us. Last year, our annual report focused upon the continued importance of a college education, which remains a critical component for our future economic success, both as individuals and as a country. Of course, learning doesn't end with college, and here at the Fed, we're constantly asking questions. We're pouring over the data, and we're searching for ways in which we can continuously improve our efforts.

What have we learned? Among other things, our economists have been studying changes in the labor market and the slowdown in China's economy. These are important questions, and the answers help us assess our economy as we consider issues related to monetary policy.

Mark Gould:

Our economic understanding relies heavily on data, but we've also reached into our communities to connect with a diverse set of leaders from the nine western states. These connections help us better understand local and regional conditions, offering insight into not only where our economy has been improving, but where and why people have been left behind.

John Williams:

We've been studying what can be done for those who are left behind, learning about techniques like creative placemaking and transit-oriented development. They're being deployed in order to revitalize downtown cores and to jump start economic development opportunities.

Mark Gould:

We make great efforts to study the past because we know it will help us as we attempt to understand the future. Here in San Francisco, we're surrounded by technology and we know that we must continuously ask questions about how technological changes could impact the safety and soundness of the financial institutions where families deposit their hard-earned paychecks.

Another core function we seek to continuously improve is our role in ensuring the authenticity of currency in circulation. We're always seeking opportunities to improve our operations, and technology provides many solutions.

John Williams:

It's important to assess when and where we may need to reorient our path; in part, to examine whether or not we're living up to our standards as an employer. Are we a destination employer? Are we recruiting the best and the brightest, and does our team reflect the diversity of our District? 2015 was a year of change at the San Francisco Fed, and one in which our economy marked a milestone in our path back from the Great Recession. And, it was a year of continuous learning for all of us.

Mark Gould:

This year we're asking the question, "What have we learned in our ongoing efforts to create a growing and sustainable economy?"


Technology for Today’s Fed

Becoming a Destination Employer

Regional Influences on Monetary Policy

The Fed's Balance Sheet

The Future of Cash

Redefining the Labor Market

China in the Global Economy

Creative Placemaking

Health and Prosperity

The Fragility of Finances

2015 Annual Report: President's Letter