One of 12 regional banks in the Federal Reserve System (the central banking system of the United States), The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is housed in 22-story edifice located on 33 Liberty Street. While it does boast an imposing footprint, the building can sometimes be overshadowed by the towering structures scattered around Lower Manhattan — that is until you notice its stately stature and realize that several of its windows are actually gated. That’s because The Federal Reserve Bank of New York — responsible for the Second District of the Federal Reserve System, which encompasses New York State, the 12 northern counties of New Jersey, Fairfield County in Connecticut, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — is reputedly said to hold the largest gold repository in the world.
While the Federal Reserve System (also called The Fed) is responsible for deciding monetary policy and serving as the banker for the U.S. government, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the place where monetary policy in the United States is actually implemented. Additionally, it handles international operations and the supervision and regulation of financial institutions. However, it’s most notable for being the largest Reserve Bank in terms of assets. After all, it stores monetary gold not only for governments, but also for foreign central banks and international agencies. If you’re wondering what that looks like, stay tuned as we delve into the secrets of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, many of which we learned while on a tour of the building:
10. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Gold Vault Contains $250 Billion Worth of Gold Bars
Image courtesy the New York Fed
One of the last, and most anticipated stops of the tour, was the gold vault located in the basement of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York building. Located 80 feet below street level (and 50 feet below sea level), it holds approximately 7,000 tons of gold bricks, which total $250 billion altogether. According to our tour guide, each gold brick is worth roughly $640,000 in today’s currency.
The vault provides a secure location to store monetary gold at no cost to account holders. However, as previously mentioned, the New York Fed only provides this service to central banks, international organizations and governments on behalf of the Federal Reserve System. This means that none of the stored gold actually belongs to the Bank; rather, the New York Fed simply acts as the “custodian” or “guardian” for account holders, none of whom are private sector entities or individuals. To give you an idea of how much gold is actually stored there, consider the fact that by 1927, the vault contained approximately 10% of the world’s official gold reserves. The largest current account holds $54 billion.