Loretta Mester is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. As director of research, she heads a staff of economists and analysts who conduct research on macroeconomics, banking, payments, finance, and the regional economy. She serves as the Bank's chief economic advisor, attends the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee in Washington, D.C. with the Bank's president, and makes regular presentations on the economy to the Bank’s board of directors. Mester also oversees the Bank’s Financial Statistics Department, which collects data and reports from financial institutions, and the Payment Cards Center, which conducts research and policy analysis on consumer finance and payments. She serves on the Bank’s senior management committee.
Mester first joined the Bank in 1985, was promoted to vice president and economist in 1996, to senior vice president and director of research in 2000, and to executive vice president and director of research in 2010. For four months in 2009, Mester was a visiting Reserve Bank officer at the Division of Monetary Affairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Mester is also an adjunct professor of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a Fellow at the Wharton Financial Institutions Center. She has taught in the undergraduate and M.B.A. programs of the Finance Department at Wharton and in the Ph.D. program of the Finance Department at New York University.
Mester is a member of the Finance Department Advisory Council, Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University, and the Economics Advisory Council of the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University. She is an associate editor of several economics and finance journals, serves on the management committee of the International Journal of Central Banking, and in 2013 started a three-year term as a co-editor of the International Journal of Central Banking. She is also a founding member and director of the Financial Intermediation Research Society and a member of the American Economic Association and its Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, the American Finance Association, the Financial Management Association, and the Econometric Society. She was elected as a practitioner director of the Financial Management Association International and began a two-year term in October 2012. Her research interests include the organizational structure and production efficiency of financial institutions, the theory of financial intermediation, and agency problems and regulatory issues in banking.
Mester earned a B.A. in mathematics and economics summa cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University, where she held a National Science Foundation Fellowship.