Data from Fed bank chiefs show disparity in wealth

AP News
Posted: Jan 31, 2012 7:41 PM
Data from Fed bank chiefs show disparity in wealth

The heads of the Federal Reserve's 12 regional banks have for the first time released financial disclosure data, which suggest a wide disparity in their wealth.

Richard Fisher, head of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, listed three real estate holdings each valued in excess of $1 million: a 176-acre Texas ranch, 311 undeveloped acres in Georgia and 2,076 acres in Montgomery City, Texas.

Esther George, who took over last year at the Kansas City Fed, disclosed that her most expensive asset, estimated between $250,000 to $500,000, was one-half ownership of a farm in St. Joseph, Mo.

The filings, like those for members of Congress, didn't list specific amounts for the assets, only ranges.

The regional banks released the documents after Bloomberg News filed a Freedom of Information Act request. The banks maintained that the information isn't covered by FOIA rules. On their websites, they said it was being released voluntarily, "to promote transparency and in response to media interest."

William Dudley, president of the New York Fed, listed holdings in excess of $1 million in inflation-protected Treasury bonds, a retirement fund and a Vanguard Treasury bond fund. Dudley was a top executive at Goldman Sachs before joining the Fed.

James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, listed no assets that he needed to report.

Beyond the range in their wealth, the regional bank presidents' assets are of varying degrees of complexity. Dudley's filing was 190 pages; George's was six. George has spent her career at the Kansas City Fed, starting as a bank examiner in 1982.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other members of the Fed's seven-member board in Washington are subject to disclosure requirements. These officials release annual financial statements. The Fed board members are nominated by the president and must be confirmed by the Senate.

Bernanke earns $199,700, the same as a Cabinet secretary. The other members of the Fed's board earn $179,700.

By contrast, the regional bank presidents are selected by the boards of the individual Fed banks, though they must be approved by the Fed board in Washington.

The regional bank chiefs aren't subject to the federal salary caps that apply to Bernanke and the other Fed board members. The regional banks' boards set their salaries.

All 12 bank presidents are paid more than Bernanke. The head of the New York Fed is the highest-paid official, earning more than $410,000.

According to the Fed's annual report, the lowest salary among the 12 regional bank presidents was $281,000 paid to Bullard.