A former Obama administration housing official has emerged as a leading candidate to run the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, according to Wall Street Journal reporting.
Although the search is ongoing, if he is appointed to the post, Raphael Bostic, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, would become the first African-American president of one of the Fed’s 12 regional banks.
Thomas Fanning, the chairman of the Atlanta Fed’s board of directors and the president of Southern Company, is leading the committee that will conduct the search for Dennis Lockhart’s replacement. Marie Gooding, the Atlanta bank’s vice president, is serving as president in the interim.
According to AP, Fed Up, a coalition of activist groups that is trying to change how the Fed’s regional banks operate, is urging the central bank to expand opportunities for minority groups on the boards of the Fed’s 12 regional banks and to open up the process for selecting the top officials at the regional banks.
“Eleven out of 12 regional bank presidents are white and there has never, in the over 100 year history of the Federal Reserve, been a black or Latino Fed president,” said Shawn Sebastian, field director for the Fed Up campaign. “We think that it is past time for that to change and Atlanta is a perfect place to start,” AP reports.
Sebastian said the Fed Up campaign, a coalition of labor unions and community activists, would be pushing for the Atlanta bank’s search committee to publicly disclose the candidates it has under consideration and ensure that there are opportunities for the public to participate in the process.
Dr. Raphael Bostic would come to the position as an expert in governance and public enterprise. He is the Judith and John Bedrosian chair in governance and the public enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.
He served three years in the Obama administration as the assistant secretary for policy development and research (PD&R) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that Senate-confirmed position, Raphael was a principal advisor to the secretary on policy and research and led an interdisciplinary team of 150, which had expertise in housing, housing finance, rental assistance, community development, economic development, sustainability and homelessness, among other topics. With his leadership, PD&R funded more than $150 million in new research, became an important advisory voice on departmental budget and prioritization decisions and reestablished its position as a thought leader on policies associated with housing and urban development.
Bostic’s work spans many fields, including homeownership, housing finance, neighborhood change and the role of institutions in shaping policy effectiveness. A particular emphasis has been on how the private, public and nonprofit sectors interact to influence household access to economic and social amenities. His work has appeared in the leading economic, public policy and planning journals. Bostic currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Freddie Mac.
Prior to working at USC, he worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where his work on the Community Reinvestment Act earned him a Special Achievement Award. Among his varied honors, he was elected as a Fellow to the National Academy of Public Administration in 2013. Bostic received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and economics from Harvard University in 1987 and his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford in 1995.
If appointed, Bostic would head the Atlanta Fed district, which covers Georgia, Alabama, Florida and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.