Since becoming the Atlanta Fed's Research Director in 2007, I've had the opportunity to work closely with the Atlanta Fed's Americas Center. The linkages between the economies of the six southeastern states in the Sixth Federal Reserve District and the economies of the Americas have only deepened in recent years, a fact that highlights the growing significance of the center's work.
The Americas Center provides a framework for collaboration among Atlanta Fed staff whose responsibilities relate to the Americas, enabling the bank to more efficiently integrate its resources to serve internal and external constituencies through a wide variety of initiatives. Since its beginning five years ago, the center's contributions to the bank's work have grown to the point that the center is recognized as an area of "distinguished historical strength" in the Sixth District's strategic plan.
The accomplishments outlined in this annual review demonstrate that the Americas Center had another strong year in 2009 as its staff and partners collaborated on a range of key projects. Three examples demonstrate the center's wide range of activities. In March, the bank's community affairs and international supervision staff and Florida International University's business school held a major policy conference on access to banking and unveiled a new Web page devoted to promote banking among the unbanked and underbanked. In Miami, in an event cosponsored with the Florida International Bankers Association, the center hosted international private banking practitioners who provided insights into risk management and strategic challenges of the current economic crisis. Finally, the Atlanta Fed's research staff continued their leading-edge work on immigration and remittances; they will host a major research conference on this topic in 2010.
In 2009 the Americas Center remained true to its mission: to foster effective cross-functional collaboration and communication among the Atlanta Fed, the Federal Reserve System, and public and private sector stakeholders and to provide leadership in key supervisory, financial, and economic matters related to the Americas. In 2010 we will continue to build upon this foundation as we address vital policy issues in an increasingly interconnected hemisphere.