The College of Saint Benedict was founded in 1913, the same year President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act and created a system of 12 district banks across the country. One of them was the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, which opened in 1914 to serve the Ninth Federal Reserve District.
One-hundred-and-eight years later, the Minneapolis Fed board of directors has appointed its first female general counsel. LuAnne Kinney Pederson ’92, who has worked as an attorney for the bank since 2001, and began her new role as senior vice president on Wednesday, June 1.
“I think Saint Ben’s prepared me really well for this,” said Pederson, who worked in banking for seven years before graduating from William Mitchell College of Law in 2000. “Of course, law school taught me the legal piece. But Saint Ben’s provided that underlying liberal arts background that has been so helpful to me, providing me with a wide range of experiences and sharpening my general analytical skills.”
After graduating from South St. Paul High School, she visited CSB in part because her father had attended Saint John’s Preparatory School. She started as a government major but later switched to sociology, with a minor in Spanish.
Because of a sluggish recovery from a recession in the early 1990s, Pederson took a job as a bank teller and later personal banker – jobs she’d worked part-time during summers and vacations while she was in college.
“It was kind of a quirk that I ended up in the banking industry,” Pederson said. “I wasn’t the typical lawyer who went right from college to law school. I worked in banking until I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I decided I wanted to become a lawyer and William Mitchell College of Law (which is now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) offered a night school program. I was kind of unique at that time because I was a little older, already married and I had a mortgage, so my circumstances didn’t allow me to stop working and focus entirely on school. I was working full-time during the day and going to law school at night. I did that for four years and got my degree.”
For more than a year, she served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable James A. Morrow, a district court judge in Anoka County.
“At one point I thought I wanted to be a litigator, but I always knew that I wanted to practice in an area that served other,” Pederson said. “I think that grew out of my experience at Saint Ben’s and the mission of wanting to do something in public service. I was considering working for Legal Aid (which provides legal services to vulnerable people free of charge), and that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. But one day I literally saw the opening at the Fed in the newspaper, back in the day when you looked at the want ads. I thought it would be a great fit with my banking background and legal experience. The Fed is more corporate than Legal Aid, but it is the nation’s central bank and you know that you’re working for a public purpose in a mission-driven organization.”
The Minneapolis Fed, like the other reserve banks, examines financial institutions to monitor safety and soundness. It provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government, conducts research to inform policymakers, monitors the regional economy to help determine national monetary policy and promotes economic well-being. The Ninth District includes Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, 26 counties in northwestern Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Pederson served as an attorney from 2001-14, after which she was promoted to assistant vice president, assistant general counsel and assistant corporate secretary, assuming responsibility for daily management of the bank’s legal division. In 2018, she became a vice president and corporate secretary. Now, four years later, she succeeds Niel Willardson, who is retiring as general counsel.
“LuAnne has been a leader at the Bank and has demonstrated strong commitment to our public service mission,” said First Vice President Ron Feldman, to whom Pederson will report. “She has been instrumental in ensuring the operational excellence of the legal division, championed a diverse and inclusive work environment and facilitated improvements in how we do our work.”
Pederson’s primary expertise is in employment law, which helps advise the Bank’s human resources and inclusion department to serve more than 1,000 employees. She also is responsible for the Bank's Code of Conduct and overall ethics program.
“This is the chief legal position at the Bank, so I see myself retiring here,” said Pederson, who lives in Roseville with her husband, Greg, of more than 25 years and their three sons. “My next goals as I move into my new role include strategic planning for the legal division and refining how the Bank’s lawyers can best contribute to the mission of the Fed.”