Frederick L. Deming, Former President

Frederick L. Deming

President, 1957–1965

Frederick Deming became president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on April 1, 1957. At that time he was the youngest person to be named president of a Federal Reserve Bank. Deming came to Minneapolis from the St. Louis Fed, which he joined in the summer of 1941 as assistant manager of the Research department; his final position there was first vice president.

Deming took an interest in ensuring the efficiency of the operating departments through some reorganization and shuffling of bank officers, and he oversaw the completion of an eight-story addition to the bank building to accommodate a growing staff that could again be housed under one roof. But as an economist, he focused on monetary policy issues, writing his own speeches and comments for Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

During his eight years as president, Deming took an active role in FOMC and Board of Governors activities. In an interview celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Federal Reserve System, Deming said, “When William McChesney Martin became chairman in 1951, he brought the presidents into monetary policy formulation.” He added, “Those were golden years for monetary policy, both because it was used and because it was effective. In the Eisenhower years it was the principal instrument of flexible economic policy; in the Kennedy-Johnson years fiscal policy grew in importance, but monetary policy was still a key factor.”

Deming resigned from the Minneapolis Fed in 1965, when he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to be Undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs. When he left the Treasury, his successor there was Paul Volcker.

He then spent a few years with Lazard Freres, a global investment firm, before returning to Minneapolis as president of National City Bancorporation, a post he held until his retirement in 1982.

Deming was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He spent his early childhood in Calumet in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and from the age of nine he lived in St. Louis, where he received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Washington University. He was the first of two Minneapolis Fed presidents to graduate from that institution; the other was Gary Stern.

Deming died at the age of 90 in Fort Myers, Fla.


More about Frederick L. Deming:

Interview with Frederick L. Deming, Oct. 26, 1992

Remembering Frederick Deming, The Region, September 2003