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Photo of Stephen S. Gardner

Stephen S. Gardner

  • Vice Chair, Board of Governors, 1976–1978
  • Born: December 26, 1921
  • Died: November 19, 1978

Stephen S. Gardner was appointed vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on February 13, 1976. He served until his death on November 19, 1978, following an illness.

Gardner was born in 1921, in Wakefield, Massachusetts. After serving in the armed forces from 1942 to 1945, he attended Harvard University. In 1949, he received a master’s in business administration degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Later that year, he joined the Girard Trust Bank in Philadelphia, where he held many different roles. He served as credit analyst, lending officer, operations officer, vice president in charge of branches, senior vice president, and head of the banking department, executive vice president, and finally director and president before becoming chairman of the bank’s board of directors in 1971.

On August 2, 1974, Gardner became deputy secretary of the Treasury. During his tenure, he was responsible for a variety of Treasury activities and acted as the secretary’s delegate on a number of government boards and commissions. These included the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation and the Electronic Funds Transfer Commission. He held this post until joining the Board of Governors.

At the Board of Governors, Gardner was known as an expert on regulatory matters and was the Federal Reserve’s subject matter expert on bank regulatory reform. He chaired the Committee on Bank Regulation and Supervision and was a member of the Interagency Coordination Committee on Bank Regulation. He testified before Congress numerous times on regulatory matters. Gardner also contributed in the areas of payment mechanisms and the regulation of foreign banking operations in the United States. He was the Board of Governors' representative on issues involving electronic funds transfers and related consumer protections, and he was a proponent of the International Banking Act.

During his career, Gardner served as director of several national corporations and was active in Philadelphia civic affairs. For example, he served as chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Movement, was on the mayor’s advisory committee, and was a director with both the Philadelphia Orchestra Association and the Philadelphia College of Art. He was also a member of the Old Philadelphia Development Corporation and chairman of the Penn’s Landing Project during its planning.

Gardner was married and had five children.

Written by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See disclaimer.