Interbank Market News Scan: Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago dollars see ups and downs over last 30 days …

Links you should follow …

Trading desks. As Beijing attempts to regulate and suppress the cryptocurrency boom, traders have been evading regulatory oversight by using over-the-counter trading desks. https://www.investing.com/news/cryptocurrency-news/chinese-traders-turn-to-otc-desks-amid-regulatory-crackdown-2519626

Trading desks. A study by UNSW Business School associate professors Elise Payzan-LeNestour and James Doran looked at how ambient sound affects financial traders’ abilities to perceive financial risks.  https://www.financialstandard.com.au/news/how-noise-impacts-trading-performance-179778519

 Interbank. Global financial regulators on Wednesday urged firms to stop using Libor by the end of the year, and said derivatives markets linked to the tarnished interbank rate should switch to “risk free rates” or RFRs compiled by central banks. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-g20-libor-regulator-idUSKCN2DE112

Foreign exchange rates of interest; 30-day range from 2 May 2021 to 2 June 2021

Currency PairsRates as of 10:30 am AST 2 June 2021Rates as of 2 May 2021Percentage Change
XCD/EUR0.30290.3080-1.7%
XCD/GBP0.26100.2679-2.6%
XCD/USD0.37040.3704flat
XCD/CAD0.44630.4551-1.9%
TTD/EUR0.11880.1203-1.2%
TTD/GBP0.10230.1046-2.2%
TTD/USD0.14520.1446+.41%
TTD/CAD0.17500.1776-1.5%
GYD/EUR0.00380.0038flat
GYD/GBP0.00330.0033flat
GYD/USD0.00460.0046flat
GYD/CAD0.00560.0056flat
Source: OANDA

The Eastern Caribbean region saw its foreign exchange rate decrease or remain flat between the European Union, Great Britain, the United States, and Canada.  The Euro price for the Eastern Caribbean dollar fell 1.7% to EUR 0.3029 from EUR 0.3080 on 2 May 2021.  The pound price of an Eastern Caribbean dollar fell 2.6% to EUR 0.2610 from its 2 May 2021 level of EUR 0.2679. The Canada dollar price of the XCD fell 1.9%.

The Trinidad and Tobago dollar was a mixed bag over the same 30-day period.  The Canada dollar price for TTD fell 1.5% from CAD 0.1776 to CAD 0.1750.  The Euro price of the TTD fell 1.2% to EUR 0.1188 from EUR 0.1203. Meanwhile, the pound price of the TTD fell 2.2%.

The price for the Guyanese dollar remained flat over the period 2 May 2021 to 2 June 2021.

Interbank Market News Scan: Substantive revolution. New currency …

The Takeaway …

The only revolution of any consequence is a bottom-up revolution. I’m not talking about changing the ass that sits in a seat in an oval office or legislative branch. Under that scenario you are merely changing personalities that run problematic institutions.

Let’s face it. Most voters don’t want change. Voters are one step above an audience at the Apollo asking for the MC to bring out the hook to cart the current act of stage. That’s not change. That’s merely comic relief.

A bottom-up change means no representative government. It means getting rid of the delusion that everyone has an opportunity merely because they exist. On the contrary, bottom up means each household is forced to create their own economic value and trade it with households that generate their own independent economic value.

Whereas under the current corporate-capitalism model, a small handful of investors create a business model and hire you to conduct some limited task that expires when that handful of investors deems it expired, it is the individual household, the one that masters technology and serves the needs of other value generating households, that controls its economy by trading goods and services that it creates.

No top-down control. Bottom up and horizontal. An organic system that weeds out those whose only claim to economic fame is due to a corporation giving them a job or some government institution bailing them out in exchange for a vote.

The bottom-up system, fortunately, is already here. Nascent, yes, but emerging steadfastly and preparing to wipe out, without mercy, those who hope that whiny calls for how much their lives matter can guarantee them a few more safety pins for their diapers.

The writing has been on the wall. The ink is beginning to dry.

For the independent, “severe libertarian” types, it will be business as usual. They have always understood that building “wealth” on a phony fiat currency has never been the way to go and that leveraging a bottom-up revolution means controlling and issuing a currency that is substantive.

No. This revolution won’t be televised …. but won’t be a surprise.

Links you should follow …

Interbank. China’s interbank money market transactions shrank in April, with the transaction volume declining 22.19 percent year on year to stand at 95.5 trillion yuan (about 14.9 trillion U.S. dollars), according to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2021-05/29/content_77535245.htm

Interdealer. EU antitrust regulators on Friday fined the world’s largest interdealer broker ICAP 6.45 million euros ($7.9 million) for taking part in several yen interest rate derivatives https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-icap-cartel-idUSKCN2D9143

Foreign exchange. Zambia’s central bank increased the amount of foreign exchange that people can buy or sell daily in an effort to draw business away from the parallel market, Governor Christopher Mvunga said. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-27/zambia-lifts-foreign-exchange-limits-to-counter-parallel-market?sref=oriheOus

Remittances. With the rebound in economic growth, remittances to low-middle-income countries will increase 2.6 percent in 2021 to 553 billion dollars, the World Bank informed today. https://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=67893&SEO=global-economic-rebound-will-increase-remittances

Remittances. The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Businessmen Panel Chairman Mian Anjum Nisar has expressed the hope that Pakistan would receive record remittance inflows of up to $29 billion this year, as the government and central bank initiatives to facilitate overseas workers have started giving positive results amidst worldwide corona epidemic challenges. https://www.brecorder.com/news/40096468/remittances-only-hope-to-support-account-balance

Banks. Tensions between Deutsche Bank and the Federal Reserve are rising.  In recent weeks, the Fed has told Deutsche Bank to address flaws in its anti-money-laundering controls, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-fed-is-reportedly-weighing-fines-for-deutsche-bank-over-the-banks-insufficient-anti-money-laundering-controls/ar-AAKxBBT

Interbank Market News Scan: Canada sees no rush to issue a central bank digital coin …

Links you should follow ….

Foreign exchange. Luis Costa outlines commodity currencies that he is trading. This strategist outlines which currency commodities he’s trading (msn.com)

Foreign exchange. The Bank of Canada is thinking in more concrete terms about how its digital currency might look and work but it does not currently see a strong case for issuing one, a deputy governor said on Wednesday. Bank of Canada does not see currently see strong case for issuing digital currency | Nasdaq

Foreign exchange. After more than a year of slumber, investors are preparing for currency volatility to come roaring back to life. Currency FX Volatility Set for a Comeback on Looming Policy Shifts – Bloomberg

Foreign exchange. A dovish Federal Reserve and accelerating growth abroad are weighing on the dollar, a move that could be a boon for stocks and other assets. Analysis-Floundering dollar falls to bottom of global currency heap (msn.com)

Foreign exchange, cryptocurrency. ‘Bitcoin isn’t even a reliable hedge for risk-off events, let alone inflation shocks. It’s actually highly pro-cyclical…In difficult times, crypto assets don’t go up; they go down.’— Nouriel Roubini. Bitcoin isn’t a currency or financial asset, but ‘looks like a bubble’: Roubini (msn.com)

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Changes in currency tails comprised of the euro, US dollar, and Canadian dollar and currencies out of the Eastern Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica remained relatively flat over the last 24 hours. Any tightening of rates on the part of major central banks is expected to have a significant impact on Caribbean currencies thus the purchasing power and cost of remittances sent back to the Caribbean.

Currency PairsRates as of 12:00 pm AST 27 May 2021Rates as of 10:45 am AST 26 May 2021
EUR/XCD3.30073.3055
USD/XCD2.70002.7000
CAD/XCD2.22492.2402
EUR/JMD182.7800181.2040
USD/JMD147.9460148.0130
CAD/JMD122.3780122.8050
USD/DOP56.479956.4454
USD/HTG88.663488.6591
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: American bank CEOs squaring off with Senate banking committee at 10:00 am EST

Links you should follow …

Banks.  Chief executives of the six largest U.S. banks will testify in Congress Wednesday on oversight topics that include their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, diversity efforts and cryptocurrencies. CEOs of 6 biggest U.S. banks to testify in Senate about COVID-19 moves, culture – UPI.com

Central banks. New Zealand followed in the footsteps of Canada to flag a potential interest-rate increase next year as central banks begin to tip toe away from their emergency monetary settings. Slowly But Surely, Central Banks Are Signaling Policy Shifts – Bloomberg

Banks. Wells Fargo & Co. has invested in The Harbor Bank of Maryland and a Washington, D.C., institution as part of a 2020 plan to commit $50 million to Black-owned banks around the country. Wells Fargo & Co. invests in The Harbor Bank of Maryland in commitment to Black-owned banks – Baltimore Sun

Central banks. Regional Federal Reserve Banks are taking an increasingly “alarming” stance on politically charged issues like racial justice, according to Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania who is the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. Wokeness at Fed’s regional banks puts central bank independence at risk | Fox Business 

Banks. Bitcoin’s price has continued to fluctuate, falling by $3,000 in a matter of hours, with big banks divided on how to approach the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin Price Rollercoaster Continues as Banks Unsure How to Approach the Crypto (msn.com)

Central banks. Eric Robertsen of Standard Chartered Bank sees some upside for commodity currencies with inflation rising. He doesn’t expect the Fed to have any “concrete announcement” on tapering before September. A few G10 central banks will ‘dial back’ bond purchasing programs later this year: Standard Chartered (msn.com) Payment systems. Commercial and central banks across the world are now using blockchain technology for payment processing and issuing of their digital currencies. The technology enables cross-border payments that are less expensive and faster as compared to traditional systems. Rapid Demand for Digital Payment Systems Being Fueled by Increasing Market Growth In Blockchain – MarketWatch

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 10:45 am AST 26 May 2021
EUR/XCD3.3055
USD/XCD2.7000
CAD/XCD2.2402
EUR/JMD181.2040
USD/JMD148.0130
CAD/JMD122.8050
USD/DOP56.4454
USD/HTG88.6591
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan at 2:45 pm GMT

Links you should follow …

Interbank, interdealer. Interbank trading activity accounted for more than 80% of the US$3.1trn in interest-rate derivatives that left the UK for the US and the European Union in the wake of Brexit, according to IFR calculations using IHS Markit data. Interbank trading drives post-Brexit swap migration | IFR (ifre.com)

Interbank, interdealer. Paul Houston, Global Head of FX Products, CME Group, recently caught up with Traders Magazine to discuss the drivers causing change in the FX derivatives market, what CME Group has been doing to alleviate the pain points from these changes, and the exchange’s future plans.  FX Futures and Options Innovation in Focus – Traders Magazine

Interbank, interdealer. US exchange group ICE has invested in FinTech and municipal bond network BondLink to develop infrastructure servicing in the $4 trillion market. ICE invests in US municipal bond network BondLink (thetradenews.com)

Interbank, China. The following are the central parity rates of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, against 24 major currencies announced on Monday by the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. Market exchange rates in China — May 24 – China.org.cn Interbank, Pakistan. The Pakistani rupee depreciated 34 paisas against the United States (US) dollar in the interbank currency market on Monday. Rupee weakens against US dollar (arynews.tv)

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 2:45 pm GMT 24 May 2021Rates as of 1:43 pm GMT 21 May 2021
GHS/EUR0.14150.1417
GMD/EUR0.01590.0159
NGN/EUR0.00200.0020
SLL/EUR0.00010.0001
KES/EUR0.00770.0075
RWF/EUR0.00080.0008
ZAR/EUR0.05870.0584
MZN/EUR0.01360.0136
XCD/EUR0.30400.3035
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan : A thought on creating an Afro-American currency …

My morning takeaway …

I think a currency should reflect the reality of the relationship between two distinct political economies that reside under a single flag.  I am specifically concerned with two groups under the American flag: Afro-America and the Virgin Islands of the United States.  Neither group have been fully incorporated into the American political economy.  There is only a 47-year difference between their starting attempts at incorporation into the United States with Afro Americans, at least on the surface, holding a lead in political-economic corporation due primarily to their physical presence in the contiguous United States, their 43 million population, and thus greater access to political channels.

Both Virgin Islanders and the Afro-American community have disproportionately higher poverty rates, lower incomes, and higher unemployment rates than their white American counterparts.  Both communities suffer from a dearth of capital and lack productive capacity, for now, through which they could independently sustain themselves.  Their banking markets are, like the rest of the United States, subject to the Federal Reserve, and the lip service of the Fed’s community development initiatives and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.

A priori, neither community draws the attention of family offices, hedge funds, investment banks, or individual trading desks in search of margin that supports any trade, including foreign exchange.  This is due primarily to both communities not having sufficient pooled natural and human resources upon which a currency (value or “energy”) can be calculated and leveraged.

Then again, under a credit creation theory of banking, this may not matter where credit, money, margin, are created out of thin air … but more on that at some other time.

In the mean-time I thought it would be interesting to add two proxy foreign exchange rates reflecting the currency of the Virgin Island (USVI) and Afro-American (AfAM) communities.  It is my endeavor, amongst too many others, to develop them in the near future …

20 May 2021

Currency PairsRates as of 2:00 pm GMT 20 May 2021Rates as of 12:44 pm GMT 19 May 2021
GHS/EUR0.14180.1419
GMD/EUR0.01610.0159
NGN/EUR0.00200.0020
SLL/EUR0.00010.0001
KES/EUR0.00750.0076
RWF/EUR0.00080.0008
ZAR/EUR0.05830.0584
MZN/EUR0.01370.0137
XCD/EUR0.30330.3033
USVI/USD0.00010.0001
AfAM/USD0.10000.1000
Source: OANDA, Alton Drew

Links you should follow …

Banks.  Three of the biggest US banking groups want the US Department of Agriculture to reconsider the terms of billions of dollars in planned debt relief for minority farmers, claiming it will cut into banks’ profits — and warn they may have to cut those same farmers off from future loans.  Banks say USDA’s debt forgiveness for minority farmers will cost them money and could affect future loans. Black farmers call that a threat. (msn.com)

Banks. Australian stocks closed higher on Thursday, marking their steepest rise in nearly two weeks, due to gains in tech and banking stocks and upbeat employment data.  Australian shares see best day in nearly 2 weeks on jobless data, banks boost | Nasdaq

Banks. In an effort stemming from the murder of George Floyd and at the behest of a Connecticut state official, a who’s who of financial institutions on Tuesday promised to address the effects of racial disparities in financial services by investing billions of dollars to support Black and Latinx communities. A state treasurer convinced big banks to commit billions of dollars to tackle racial inequities. This is the result. (msn.com)

Banks. Mike Mayo, Wells Fargo Securities senior banking analyst, joins ‘Power Lunch’ to discuss the competition banks could be facing from fintech, the future of bank branches and more. Banks are headed toward record efficiency, says Wells Fargo’s Mike Mayo (msn.com) Banks, central banks, digital currency. Can crypto benefit central banks? 3 ways digital currencies backed by central banks could benefit the global economy, according to Fitch (msn.com)

Central banks. The Bahamas became a global leader in e-money last year when it launched one of the world’s first central bank digital ­currencies—the “sand dollar”—beating China’s “digital renminbi” to the market by six months. How the Tiny Bahamas Beat Global Giants in the E-Currency Race (msn.com)

Interbank Market News Scan: If currency reflects value, Europe buys Africa on the cheap ….

My morning takeaway …

The value of a currency is determined by changes in supply and demand; the demand for Treasury notes denominated in the base currency; and the amount of the base currency held in reserve by foreign central banks.  The greater the amount of base currency held by foreign central banks, the lower the supply of the term currency, thus the higher the term currency’s price.

In the table below, the base currencies are on the left of the slash mark, the African currencies. The term currency, in the case the euro, is on the right of the slash.  So, today one Ghanaian cedi (GHS) is priced at 0.1419 euros.

At first blush it is tempting to consider the low euro price as a bad thing.  Yes, currency represents a country’s economic value and given these low absolute euro values a reader may feel despondent that Europe looks apparently with low favor on the African continent.  They would not be wrong.  The African continent has long been Europe’s supplier of resources with a well-documented imbalance in the relationship.

Coming terms with the imbalance should include African central banks and national governments taking fiscal and monetary actions to drive up their currency values.  The continent has taken small but important steps toward doing so with the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which went into effect last January.  The 54 signatories to the agreement hope that removing non-tariff barriers to trade, elimination of 90% of tariffs on internal trade, and the facilitation of the movement of human capital between nations will go far in stemming its move from the current colonial model and, in the words of Wamkele Mene, the AfCFTA secretariat, move Africa away from being a provider of commodities with final goods being processed elsewhere.

With a little resilience and focus, the Continent will get there and Europe will have to take another look at how she evaluates Africa’s value…

19 May 2021

Currency PairsRates as of 12:44 pm GMT 19 May 2021Rates as of 19 April 2021
GHS/EUR0.14190.1437
GMD/EUR0.01590.0162
NGN/EUR0.00200.0022
SLL/EUR0.00010.0001
KES/EUR0.00760.0077
RWF/EUR0.00080.0008
ZAR/EUR0.05840.0584
MZN/EUR0.01370.0135
Source: OANDA

Interbank Market News Scan: Remittances, foreign exchange; Africa sees average cost of remittances at 8.2% …

Foreign exchange rates of interest…

Currency PairsRates as of 8:13 am EST 17 May 2021
USD/AOA652.8280
USD/GMD50.9478
USD/GHS5.7535
USD/NGN379.9410
USD/KES108.0900
USD/SLL10134.0000
USD/RWF979.3480
USD/ZAR14.1119
USD/MZN58.3200
Source: OANDA

Links to follow …

Remittances. According to the bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief, officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached US$540 billion in 2020, 1.6 per cent below the 2019 total of US$548 billion. Remittance flows remained strong during COVID-19 in 2020, says World Bank (jamaicaobserver.com)

Remittances, Philippines. Remittances continued to grow in March as more countries eased travel restrictions and reopened borders to foreign workers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported Monday. Remittances up 4.9% in March (msn.com)

Remittances, Ghana. Remittances from Ghanaians grew by five per cent from $3.39 billion in 2019 to $5.57 billion in 2020, a World Bank report has said.
This was in spite of the grim economic outlook presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected people’s earnings and the economies of nations worldwide last year. Remittances From Ghanaians Abroad Increase | Social | Peacefmonline.com

Remittances, Nigeria. Pan-African credit rating agency, Agusto & Co has projected that Nigeria’s diaspora remittances will reach $22 billion by 2021, representing a year-on-year (y-o-y) rise of five per cent. Agusto & Co Forecasts $22bn Diaspora Remittances for Nigeria in 2021 | THISDAYLIVE

Remittances, Kenya. Kenya is targetting to collect at least Sh700 billion from over four million Kenyans working abroad, Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has said. Kenya targets Sh700 billion in diaspora remittances annually (the-star.co.ke)

Interbank Market News Scan: Prime brokers, banks, foreign exchange …

News links of interest …

Prime broker. Equiti Capital, a subsidiary of Equiti Group, announced today that its FX Desk has onboarded NatWest Markets as another Prime Broker. Equiti Capital Appoints Another Prime Broker In NatWest Markets (fxempire.com)

Banks. Two regional banks in Japan’s northern prefecture of Aomori said they were considering consolidating, joining a flurry of lenders seeking to survive amid narrowing margins from a rapidly ageing population and ultra-low interest rates. Two Japanese regional banks eye tie-up to fight margin pressures | Nasdaq

Foreign exchange. In criticisms of Federal Reserve actions, legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller highlighted the case for bitcoin to replace the dollar. Legendary Investor Stanley Druckenmiller: USD Will Lose World Reserve Currency Status | Nasdaq

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 8:32 pm EST 11 May 2021
EUR/USD1.2146
GBP/USD1.4137
AUD/USD0.7838
USD/CAD1.2095
USD/JPY108.6300
USD/NOK8.2568
USD/CHF0.9034
USD/SEK8.3206
USD/MEX19.9520
Source: Reuters
Selected Rates 
Fed Funds.05
Bank prime rate3.25
Fed Funds target rate.25
2-yr Treasury.16
10-yr Treasury1.63
30-yr2.35
Source: Bloomberg

Interbank Market News Scan: A vote that can bring the question of Scottish independence a little closer…

Links you should be following today …

Trading desks. A week that could set in motion the eventual collapse of the 314-year union between England and Scotland is concentrating City trading desks on market disasters ahead. ‘Worse Than Brexit’: Scottish Independence Weighs on U.K. Assets – Bloomberg

Banks. Kate Kelly, The New York Times business reporter, joins ‘Squawk on the Street’ to discuss her story on Goldman Sachs’ plan to end remote work for most of its workers and bring them back to the office by mid-to-late June. Goldman Sachs to end remote work for most employees — What that could mean for other banks (msn.com)

Banks. Larger banks ask corporate clients to reduce their cash deposits. Cash-rich US banks move to reduce corporate deposits | Financial Times (ft.com)

Banks. Long ago central banks secured a monopoly over the issuance of paper money. Now physical cash in the form of bank notes and coins is in terminal decline. But the monetary authorities don’t intend to allow cryptocurrencies to fill the void without a fight. Instead, they’re responding with their own version of a so-called “stablecoin”. These central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, could turn out to be the most revolutionary financial innovation since, well, the inception of paper money. Chancellor: Central bank coin will crush the banks | Nasdaq

Banks. Loan officers at U.S. banks reported easing standards on most business and household loans in the first three months of the year as more of the country reopened amid accelerating vaccination rates. Banks eased standards for business, household loans in first quarter, Fed survey shows (msn.com)

Foreign exchange rates of interest …

Currency PairsRates as of 9:29 pm EST 4 May 2021Rates as of 11:05 pm EST 3 May 2021Change in pips
EUR/USD1.20171.2047-30
GBP/USD1.38911.3879+12
AUD/USD0.77110.7742-31
USD/CAD1.22901.2293-3
USD/JPY109.3000109.1900+1,100
USD/NOK8.32768.2964+312
USD/CHF0.91330.9124+9
USD/SEK8.48378.4250+587
USD/MEX20.183720.2220-383
Source: Reuters

FedWatch: Fed chair Jerome Powell delivers remarks on the Community Reinvestment Act and the importance of community development …

“We see our robust supervisory approach as critical to addressing racial discrimination, which can limit consumers’ ability to improve their economic circumstances, including through access to homeownership and education.” — Jerome Powell

“Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be with you today.

Together, over the past year, we have been making our way through a very difficult time. We are not out of the woods yet, but I am glad to say that we are now making real progress. While some countries are still suffering terribly in the grip of COVID-19, the economic outlook here in the United States has clearly brightened. Vaccination levels are rising. Fiscal and monetary policy are providing strong support. The economy is reopening, bringing stronger economic activity and job creation.

That is the high-level perspective—let’s call it the 30,000 foot view—and from that vantage point, we see improvement. But we should also take a look at what is happening at street level. Lives and livelihoods have been affected in ways that vary from person to person, family to family, and community to community. The economic downturn has not fallen evenly on all Americans, and those least able to bear the burden have been the hardest hit.

The pain is all the greater in light of the gains we had seen in the years prior to the pandemic. COVID swept in as the United States was experiencing the longest expansion on record. Unemployment was at 50-year lows, and inflation remained under control. Wages were moving up, particularly for the lowest-paid workers. Long-standing racial disparities in unemployment were narrowing, and many who had struggled for years were finding jobs. It was not until the later years of that expansion that its benefits had started to reach those on the margins. During our Fed Listens events, we met with people around the country and heard repeatedly about the life-changing gains of the strong labor market, particularly at the lower end of the income spectrum. Just a few months later, those stories changed to ones of job losses, overextended support services, and businesses built over generations closing their doors for good.

While the recovery is gathering strength, it has been slower for those in lower-paid jobs: Almost 20 percent of workers who were in the lowest earnings quartile in February of 2020 were not employed a year later, compared to 6 percent for workers in the highest quartile.1

The Fed’s latest Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking—or SHED report—which will be published later this month, will show that, for prime-age adults without a bachelor’s degree, 20 percent saw layoffs in 2020 versus 12 percent for college-educated workers. And more than 20 percent of Black and Hispanic prime-age workers were laid off compared to 14 percent of white workers over the same period.

Small businesses have also faced immense difficulties. Fed research found that 80 percent of those surveyed reported a decline in revenue, with two-thirds of those businesses experiencing losses of at least 25 percent.2 A recent Federal Reserve special report looked specifically at the impact on businesses owned by people of color, who reported greater challenges. For example, 67 percent of both Asian- and Black-owned firms and 63 percent of Hispanic-owned firms had to reduce their operations compared to 54 percent for their white counterparts.3

Our upcoming SHED report notes that 22 percent of parents were either not working or working less because of disruptions to childcare or in-person schooling. Black and Hispanic mothers—36 percent and 30 percent, respectively—were disproportionately affected. In a similar vein, labor force participation declined around 4 percentage points for Black and Hispanic women compared to 1.6 percentage points for white women and about 2 percentage points for men overall.4 The Fed is focused on these long-standing disparities because they weigh on the productive capacity of our economy. We will only reach our full potential when everyone can contribute to, and share in, the benefits of prosperity.

Achieving broadly shared prosperity will take action from across society, from fiscal and other government policy to private-sector initiatives to the work everyone here does. The Fed can contribute as well. Using our monetary policy tools, the Fed promotes maximum employment and price stability—two foundations of a strong, stable economy that can improve economic outcomes for all Americans. We view maximum employment as a broad and inclusive goal. Those who have historically been left behind stand the best chance of prospering in a strong economy with plentiful job opportunities. Our recent history highlights both the benefits of a strong economy and the severe costs of a weak one.

Supervisory tools also have a role to play. As part of our policy responsibilities, the Board of Governors enforces both the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the federal fair lending laws that prohibit discrimination in lending. Violations of the fair lending laws, along with other illegal credit practices, are taken into account during bank evaluations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). We see our robust supervisory approach as critical to addressing racial discrimination, which can limit consumers’ ability to improve their economic circumstances, including through access to homeownership and education.

The Fed’s community development function plays a role as well, studying what works, convening stakeholders on both the national and District level, and helping financial institutions find opportunities to invest and expand credit opportunities in low- and moderate-income communities.

The economic landscape has changed, and efforts to provide access and credit to communities must change with it. Last year, the Fed issued a proposal for a strengthened, modernized CRA framework, with the objective of building broad support among both external stakeholders and participating agencies. Our goal is to strengthen the core purpose of meeting the credit needs of low- and moderate-income communities. We especially appreciated NCRC’s feedback on the proposal.

We will continue to do our part, and we appreciate the ways our work and that of NCRC members have intersected. Last April, for instance, the Fed expanded the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility in order to broaden its reach to include some nondepository lenders. That included CDFI (community development financial institution) loan funds, which many of the people here represent. Your work provided small businesses with invaluable technical assistance to help them weather the downturn, and you have helped them get the funds they need to support their businesses.

NCRC member groups have contributed in so many ways. You helped workers who lost their jobs get retrained. You supported working parents. You helped homeowners struggling with payments and connected renters to federal assistance programs. You brought more people into the banking system, helped strengthen financial literacy and capabilities, and worked to address digital divides in areas of need—particularly in rural communities—at a time when connectivity is essential.

I would like to close by saying thank you. You have been working hard through this crisis, and an enormous amount of work still lies ahead. But what you do is essential. You provide an invaluable service: You make people’s lives better. There is no higher calling.

Thank you.” — Jerome Powell, 3 May 2021