Skip top navigation
Photo of Robert T. Parry

Robert T. Parry

  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 1986–2004

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.1 He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Gettysburg College in 19602 and a master’s (1961) and doctorate (1967) in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.3

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.2

Parry returned to the Federal Reserve System from Security Pacific when he became president of the San Francisco Fed in 1986.2 His presidency coincided with the period of economic stability and expansion known as the Great Moderation.4 Under Parry's leadership, the San Francisco Fed studied the remarkable productivity growth and technology innovation shaping the economy at the time.5 Over the course of his 18 years in office, Parry's economic philosophy developed from hawkish6  to more moderate on the topic of inflation.

During Parry's time as president, the San Francisco Fed made lasting contributions to the community development field. 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. Shortly before retiring, Parry said, "My involvement in the community development field is truly one of the highlights of my career."

In addition, Parry recognized the San Francisco Fed’s district’s strong economic and banking ties to Asia. He traveled each year to Asia to meet with policymakers, bankers, and government officials.

Parry retired in 2007.7 


Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco as of November 2013 and updated by Ella Needler and Genevieve Podleski as of December 2022. See disclaimer and update policy.