Raphael Bostic Becomes First African-American to Head Regional Federal Reserve Bank

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Raphael Bostic, 50, served as an economist on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1995 to 2001. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Fed website.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta just announced Southern Cal associate professor Raphael Bostic as its new president, making him the first African-American to head one of the Fed’s 12 regional banks.

Bostic, 50, will start on June 30, replacing former president Dennis Lockhart, who retired at the end of February, according to a press release.

Fed officials describe the new president as a “seasoned” leader with years of experience in the areas of public policy and academia under his belt. Bostic is currently a professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC and formerly served as an assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under ex-POTUS Barack Obama. His past research also has focused on homeownership and housing finance, Business Insider reported.

“We are very pleased that Raphael will join the Atlanta Fed as its president and CEO,” said Thomas A. Fanning, chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank. “He is a seasoned and versatile leader, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public policy and academia.

“Raphael also has significant experience leading complex organizations and managing interdisciplinary teams,” Fanning continued. “He is a perfect bridge between people and policy.”

Bostic’s appointment was jointly approved by eligible directors of the Atlanta Fed’s board of directors, all nonbankers by law, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C., according to an Atlanta Federal Reserve press release. The new role is not the USC professor’s first stint at the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, however. He served as an economist and then a senior economist in the monetary and financial studies department on the board from 1995 to 2001, the release stated. The New Jersey native also worked as a professional lecturer at American University in 1998.

“The Reserve Banks are vital contributors to our nation’s economic and financial success,” Bostic said in a statement regarding his presidential appointment. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the bank’s well-respected staff in advancing the excellent reputation this organization has built over many years.

“In my role as president of the Atlanta Reserve Bank, I also look forward to confronting the challenges the Federal Reserve faces in today’s increasingly global and rapidly changing economy,” he concluded.

For many, Bostic’s appointment is a step in the right direction to rectify issues concerning a lack of diversity among the Fed’s top leaders. Shawn Sebastian, the co-director of Fed Up, a liberal coalition working to bring more diversity to the Fed, expressed joy at the news of Bostic’s appointment.

“We are thrilled that someone with Bostic’s background and experience will have a voice at the country’s foremost economic policy-making institution,” he said.

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