Theodore H. Roberts became the ninth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on February 1, 1983, succeeding Lawrence K. Roos. He resigned December 31, 1984.
Roberts graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He began his banking career at Harris Trust and Savings Bank, where he began as a trainee and eventually became executive vice president and chief financial officer. He worked there for thirty years, from 1953 to 1983, until he left to accept the position of president of the St. Louis Fed. In 1973, while at Harris Bank, Roberts helped to found the Association for Modern Banking in Illinois, of which he was elected president six years later.
Roberts brought his extensive background in banking (specifically, pricing operations) to his role as president and was named a member of the Federal Reserve System Pricing Policy Committee in 1984. He served as president a little under two years and saw his greatest accomplishment as maintaining the Reserve Bank’s “preeminent position in monetary policy research and influence.”
Monetarist economic theory has long been associated with the St. Louis Fed, especially during the era that includes Roberts’s term as president. Chairman Paul Volcker, as well, was considered a member of the monetarist camp. An article in the New York Times suggested that Roberts’s appointment as president of the St. Louis Fed was interpreted by some analysts as “a victory for the nonmonetarist school,” since Roberts had a background in banking but not monetarist economics.1
After leaving the St. Louis Fed, Roberts returned to Harris Bank but left shortly thereafter to become president and chief operating officer of Talman Home Federal Savings and Loan and eventually became chairman and CEO in 1987. In 1991, he was named president of LaSalle National Bank when it purchased Talman. He remained in that position until 1995 when he retired.
New York Times, December 4, 1982: Robert A Bennett, “Chicago Banker Named Head of St. Louis Fed.”
Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. See disclaimer.