Atlanta Fed appoints first African-American regional president as major step in diversity

Former policymaker in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Raphael Bostic, was named the 15th president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta Federal Reserve on March 13. The move marks as progress for Atlanta Fed in regards to diversity as Bostic becomes the first African-American regional president in the central bank's history.

Bostic is set to take his seat as president of Atlanta Fed's 12 regional banks on June 5. Part of his responsibilities as president of the central bank includes determining interest rates and voting on the Fed's rotating committee in 2018. The appointment comes after Fed Chairman Janet Yellen was heavily criticized by congressional leaders last year for the lack of diversity in the central bank.

Members of the congress and advocacy groups pushed for a diverse choice to lead the Atlanta Fed region due to its large African American population. Bostic acknowledges the Fed's decision and in part says his appointment to the office is a very big deal. The USC professor claims the move to be daunting, overwhelming but at the same time a tremendous privilege and hopes it to be a stepping stone for many others to have the opportunity.

"Given the disparate economic experiences faced by key demographic groups, it is crucial that a broader cross-section of groups have a seat at the decision-making table," Rep. Maxine Waters said, one of the African-American members that pushed for diversity in the Atlanta Fed. Thomas Fanning, chairman of the Atlanta Fed's board, further affirms Bostic's appointment due to his experience in the academe, government and research.

About 82 percent of the Fed's most senior employees in Washington D.C. are white, specifically 231 of them, while only 17 are high-level black employees as reported by CNN Money. Yellen has long promised to make the Atlanta Fed more diverse and Bostic becoming regional president already proved efforts. 

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