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Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Provides Hope, Commentary on Economy to Jacksonville Business Leaders

Hope is valid for our country’s economic comeback.

That was the overarching theme behind Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta  president and CEO Raphael Bostic’s comments this morning during a JAXUSA Partnership webinar attended by nearly 300 business, government and community leaders. The event kicked off with brief remarks from Bostic, followed by a moderated Q&A with JAXUSA President Aundra Wallace and questions from attendees.

While the current state of the U.S. economy is a result of “spillover effects” from the public health crisis our nation is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bostic reiterated that the strong economic fundamentals in place pre-shutdown will allow for a more robust recovery than previous recessions. Strengthened by 11 years of continuous growth and no signs of runaway inflation or emerging risks, these fundamentals can be reserved to ensure that job losses are temporary rather than permanent. However, as Bostic stated, this can only occur if we are able “to get the public health issue in place and restore consumer confidence and engagement in the economy quickly.”

According to Bostic, history provided a great lesson for the Fed, allowing it to mobilize quickly and be bold and decisive in measures created with federal legislation. The Fed has been active in the payment space ensuring elevated demand for cash would not overwhelm the system and that relief gets to American families from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to alleviate burden or disruption.

The Fed has also worked with banking institutions to deploy capital as much as possible and be flexible with their borrowers. The efforts are happening in real time as relief is getting to businesses and households quickly, but the Fed is monitoring whether the relief is adequate and identifying targeted areas that are not included in the distribution.

Regarding the U.S. Southeast region’s recovery, Bostic points to the vibrant activity of “ideas, innovation and long traditions of hard work,” coupled with the diversified economy, which will be helpful in recovery efforts. This is especially true for the Jacksonville region’s diverse industry mix in which there are strong logistics, health care, insurance and fintech industries. On a follow-up call with national and local media, Bostic stated that “I do think that [it’s] an asset that there is a diversity of sectors that the [Jacksonville] region has some presence in, and that diversity is going to contribute to a good deal of resilience.”

Watch the full webinar:

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Speaks to Jacksonville Business Community