Fed Presidents Emphasize Need for Bankers on Reserve Bank Boards

Speaking at the ABA Washington Summit today, three Federal Reserve Bank presidents affirmed the role that bankers play in serving on Fed bank boards. “You’re our members,” said Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Atlanta Fed. “It’s important for you to have input into what we’re doing.”

Bankers know their markets and provide a conduit for exchanging market information with the reserve banks, Bostic explained. “Our operations are bank operations,” added Tom Barkin, president and CEO of the Richmond Fed. “If you want to have a board member who knows your business, why not have a banker?”

In recent years, some activists have criticized the presence of bank executives in three of the nine spots on each reserve bank board. But Esther George, president and CEO of the Kansas City Fed, said that “the system has over time put in the safeguards to ensure we don’t have regulatory conflicts,” adding that “the design does not overweight any of the voices at the table.”

Barkin, Bostic and George also discussed their views on post-crisis regulatory reforms, capital levels, catastrophe planning, cannabis banking, the move toward real-time payments and the effects of bank consolidation. A video of their remarks is available.