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Waters Calls on President Biden and Directors to Consider Diverse, Transformative Leaders for Federal Reserve Vacancies

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement regarding President Biden’s imminent decision to name top leadership positions at the Federal Reserve:

“President Biden is expected to announce his nominees soon for Federal Reserve Chair and other key leadership roles on the Board of Governors. Taken together with this week’s announced resignation of Governor Randy Quarles and other vacancies, including at the Dallas and Boston Federal Reserve Banks, our nation now has a rare opportunity to transform the leadership of the Fed so that it is not only more diverse but also more focused on addressing the issues faced by communities of color.

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 has hurt communities of color the most. Persistent economic inequality and the racial wealth gap have been exacerbated by the pandemic and, without strong and focused leadership, will become worse.

"For years, I have called attention to the fact that leaders at the Federal Reserve are supposed to represent the public, yet the Fed consistently lacks diversity among its leadership. Only a small number of women and people of color have ever served on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). It is unacceptable that there has never been a Black woman or Latinx FOMC official in the Fed’s 108-year history.

“We now have the opportunity to right this wrong and to create a Federal Reserve that resembles and truly represents America. I call on President Biden and the Federal Reserve Bank directors in Dallas and Boston to not squander this moment and to give people of color a long overdue seat at the Fed table.”

On May 12, 2016, Chairwoman Waters and 116 congressional Democrats urged Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, to improve the diversity of leaders throughout the Federal Reserve System and to strengthen the degree of public transparency and consultation in the Reserve Bank re-appointment process that had just concluded.

On January 31, 2017, Chairwoman Waters sent a letter to Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Margaret Lewis, Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Board of Directors, calling for intentional efforts to identify and select diverse candidates to replace retiring Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey M. Lacker.

On March 13, 2017, Chairwoman Waters applauded the selection of Raphael Bostic as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which occurred after Chairwoman Waters urged the Atlanta Fed’s leadership to consider diverse candidates.

On February 26, 2018, Chairwoman Waters sent a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Co-Chairs of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s search committee, calling for their commitment to identify diverse candidates to replace Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley. 

On June 8, 2018, Chairwoman Waters and 42 Democrats sent a letter to Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Alex Mehran, Chair of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco search committee, calling for an inclusive search process to identify diverse candidates to replace Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams.

On September 10, 2019, the House of Representatives approved a Financial Services Committee-passed bill entitle the "Ensuring Diverse Leadership Act" by Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion Chair Joyce Beatty (D-OH), which would require each Federal Reserve Bank to interview at least one individual reflective of gender diversity and one reflective of racial or ethnic diversity in making the appointment of a Reserve Bank president.

On April 21, 2021, under Chairwoman Waters’ leadership, the Committee on Financial Services passed Chairwoman Waters' bill to require the Federal Reserve to use its existing authorities to close racial employment and wage gaps and report on how the gaps change over time.

On June 30, 2021, Chairwoman Waters gave the following statement at a Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions hybrid hearing entitled, “Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: The Need to Build Resilience within Our Banking and Financial Institutions,” on the effects of climate change on the financial system.

On July 15, 2021, Chairwoman Waters applauded President Biden’s executive order to examine bank merger practices and urged the Federal Reserve to strengthen bank merger reviews.


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