Robert T. Parry served as the tenth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from February 4, 1986, until his retirement on June 1, 2004.
Parry was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Gettysburg College in 1960 and then earned a master’s and doctorate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961 and 1967, respectively. Parry holds honorary doctorates from Gettysburg College and Southern Utah University.
Parry first joined the Federal Reserve System in the mid-1960s as a research economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, DC, where he helped build a financial model of the United States. He left the Board of Governors in 1970 to join Security Pacific National Bank as a vice president. He moved up through the ranks to become executive vice president and chief economist of Security Pacific Corporation and its principal subsidiary, Security Pacific National Bank.
Parry held this position until he assumed leadership of the San Francisco Fed in 1986. Under Parry’s leadership, the San Francisco Fed made lasting contributions to the community development field in support of the Fed’s supervisory responsibilities for the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. In 1989, the San Francisco Fed played a lead role in the formation of the California Community Reinvestment Corporation, a multibank affordable housing and economic development lending consortium. The model was replicated in numerous states in the Twelfth Federal Reserve District.
In 1998, Parry received a lifetime achievement award from Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services for his community reinvestment work. In opening remarks presented at the 2004 Community Reinvestment Conference shortly before he retired, Parry noted, “My involvement in the community development field is truly one of the highlights of my career.”1
Under Parry’s leadership, the San Francisco Fed launched the Center for the Study of Productivity and Innovation in 2003 to understand the remarkable productivity growth and innovation shaping the economy at the time. Much of the surge centered in the technology sectors located in the Twelfth District’s Silicon Valley.
In recognition of the Twelfth District’s economic and banking ties to Asia, Parry traveled each year to Asia to meet with policymakers, bankers, and government officials. The tradition continues today. The trips provide firsthand knowledge of developments in this region that are of growing importance for the global economy and the western United States.
During his career, Parry served as chairman of the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association and as a director of the California Bankers Association. He is a past president of the National Association of Business Economists and a former director of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Active in the business community, Parry served as a member of the Los Angeles City Economic Council, following an appointment by Mayor Tom Bradley. Parry also served as a member of the advisory board to the Pacific Rim Bankers Program and as a director and member of both the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area Council and the Bay Area Economic Forum.
Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. See disclaimer.