Lafayette Building (Export-Import Bank)

Constructed in 1940, this government building ultimately housed the financial minds that contributed to an Allied victory in World War II.

Designed in 1939 in the “Stripped” Classical style, this limestone-clad office building is twelve stories tall, and centrally located near the White House, between McPherson and Lafayette squares. The exterior of the structure is plain and lacks ornamentation—narrow parapets and repetitive square windows maintain the nearly uniform appearance of the building. The interior mirrors the simplicity and restraint of the exterior, with standardized office spaces and unadorned fixtures.

The Lafayette Building is significant as the one-time headquarters of the Federal Loan Agency and its central component, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). During World War II, the RFC would provide intensive support to the Allied powers through constructing new industrial plants, protecting raw materials from Axis powers, and producing synthetic rubber for the war effort.

The office building is also significant for its association with Jesse Holman Jones—a powerful political figure in Washington heavily associated with the RFC. He conducted much of his government business from his office in the Lafayette Building.

Today, the building remains in use as a functional and recently renovated office space, as the home of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The National Historic Landmark is within the Financial Historic District.

National Register: September 1, 2005

National Historic Landmark: September 1, 2005



811 Vermont Avenue NW Washington DC 20571