Our Mission and History


The mission of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is to provide our members with reliable access to low-cost liquidity, essential financial services and expertise, and resources for affordable housing and economic development. Together, we make our communities more vibrant, equitable, and resilient, changing lives for the better.


Established during the Great Depression to improve the housing finance system by encouraging credit flow throughout the country for mortgages, the Federal Home Loan Bank System consistently delivers low-cost liquidity to the housing finance industry to better serve the needs of their communities. Since 1932, the FHLBank System been a vital source of liquidity for its members — today, nearly 7,000 financial institutions, or 80% nationwide, rely on their regional Federal Home Loan Bank to help meet the changing credit needs of their customers and communities.

July 22, 1932

Congress passes the Federal Home Loan Bank Act establishing the Federal Home Loan Bank System (the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and 8-12 district banks).

October 15, 1932

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Los Angeles is established.

March 29, 1946

The Federal Home Loan Bank Board merges the Los Angeles and Portland FHLBanks and moves the combined office to San Francisco — officially founding the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

August 9, 1989

The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) becomes law and makes significant changes to the FHLBank System:

  • FIRREA abolishes the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and transfers oversight of the FHLBanks to the Federal Housing Finance Board. It also shifts supervision and regulatory responsibilities for thrift institutions and their holding companies to the Department of the Treasury, under the newly created Office of Thrift Supervision.
  • The act extends membership to other federally insured depository institutions — including commercial banks, credit unions, and thrifts and loans.
  • Finally, FIRREA also mandates assessments for the newly created Affordable Housing Program, a competitive grant program that supports affordable housing development activities of FHLBank members, and for debt coverage on bonds issued to fund the Resolution Funding Corporation (REFCORP).

November 12, 1999

The Federal Home Loan Bank System Modernization Act becomes law. It makes membership voluntary for all members and expands access to the Bank’s products and services. It also creates a framework for reforming the capital structure of the Federal Home Loan Banks, revises the formula for calculating the REFCORP assessment, and transfers many corporate governance responsibilities to the Federal Home Loan Banks directly. 

August 29, 2005

The Bank becomes a registrant with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

July 30, 2008

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of (HERA) becomes law. It designates the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which also oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as the Federal Home Loan Bank System’s new regulator.

August 5, 2011

FHFA determines that the FHLBanks completed their REFCORP obligations with the payment made on July 15, 2011.

June 1, 2015

In the first voluntary merger in the history of the Federal Home Loan Bank System, FHLBank Seattle merges with FHLBank Des Moines. The merged Bank’s headquarters remains in Des Moines, with a western regional office in Seattle.