African American Named Head of the Atlanta Fed

His appointment comes at the urging of some Congressional Black Caucus members

By Frederick H. Lowe

Raphael W. Bostic, a professor of governance at the University of Southern California, has been named president and CEO of Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, becoming the first African American in the Federal Reserve system’s 104-year history to lead one of its 12 regional reserve banks.

The 50 year-old Bostic succeeds Dennis Lockhart who retired from the Atlanta Fed on Feb. 28.

Raphael Bostic

Raphael Bostic

Four members of the Congressional Black Caucus: John Lewis, David Scott, John Conyers, Jr. and Maxine Waters wrote Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and Thomas A. Fanning, chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, on September 28th, urging them to consider candidates from diverse personal backgrounds, including African Americans, Latinos and women.

“As you well know, grave racial disparities exist across our nation in employment, wages and income. Federal Reserve leadership must consider and confront how a national economy where troubling racial disparities persist could possibly achieve full employment,” the Congressmen wrote.  “These challenges are particularly evident throughout the sixth Federal Reserve District, where unemployment and poverty rates for African Americans are roughly double those for whites.”

The Sixth Federal Reserve District encompasses Alabama, Florida and Georgia and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Atlanta Fed participates in setting monetary policy, supervises numerous banking organizations and provides a variety of payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government.

Bostic, who earned a Ph.D in economics from Stanford in 1995, is currently the Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC.

A native of Delran, N.J., Bostic was his high school graduation class’ valedictorian, and he graduated from Harvard University in 1987 with a combined major in economics and psychology.

He begins his new job June 5th.

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