Joseph A. McCord was the first governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He served in that position from October 19, 1914, to January 10, 1919.
McCord was born in Newton County, Georgia. in 1857. He received his education in Conyers, Georgia.
McCord’s banking career began at Atlanta Banking & Trust Co. as assistant cashier in 1892. McCord was eventually promoted to cashier. He later helped establish the Third National Bank of Atlanta and became vice president in 1908.
McCord served on the currency reform task force of the American Bankers Association from 1907 to 1914. The group worked with Congress on the Federal Reserve Act. McCord helped lobby for a Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.
McCord was appointed the first governor of the Atlanta Fed in October 1914. The Bank’s original staff, including the governor, was thirteen employees. At the time, the governor supervised the day-to-day operations of the Bank, a position equivalent to the president’s role today. Other Bank positions included secretary-cashier, auditor, credit officer, discount clerk, general bookkeeper, and stenographer.
On March 1, 1919, McCord switched positions with Maximilian Wellborn, the bank’s first chairman. The chairman presided over district board meetings, issued annual reports and, in his role as Federal Reserve agent, was the Board of Governors’ representative in Atlanta. McCord served as chairman until 1924.
The Atlanta Fed’s early years were spent aiding the Southeast economy, which was dominated by the cotton industry. McCord also faced issues such as low bank membership, minimal check clearing, and the sporadic business of providing credit to member banks.
The Federal Reserve provided aid in selling war bonds during World War I.
During his tenure, McCord oversaw the opening of the first Fed branch in New Orleans in 1915. Two more branches were added in 1918, one in Birmingham and one in Jacksonville.
McCord served as trustee for the public schools of Carrollton and was a member of the city council there.
McCord passed away in 1943. He was married to the former Lillie Croft until her death in 1888. They had no children. He later married Ella Hall, with whom he had one son, Joseph Alexander McCord Jr.
Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. See disclaimer.