ATLANTA – Raphael Bostic, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, met with students and faculty for a conversation on financial inclusion on August 31 during a visit to Georgia State University arranged by the Georgia Fintech Academy of the University System of Georgia. The Robinson College of Business co-sponsored the event.
In addition to explaining the role of the Atlanta Fed in the economy and bank regulation, Bostic spoke about financial inclusion to an audience of more than 430 attendees, including fintech community leaders, members of the Georgia Fintech Academy, and Georgia State researchers, students, and leaders interested in fintech or financial inclusion. The Georgia Fintech Academy is a talent development initiative that teaches students about fintech and connects them with fintech employers. It was co-conceived by and is housed at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.
Bostic spoke passionately about the role of the Atlanta Fed and the industry in improving economic mobility and resilience. He identified three areas where innovation or policy can make a difference.
Bostic said creating an economy that works for everyone requires policymakers to identify why disparities exist and, to the extent possible, talk to those who could contribute to narrowing those discrepancies to ensure all receive opportunities based on their talents and abilities. To that end, 18 months ago, the Fed began convening a Special Committee on Payments Inclusion that brings together experts from the payment sector, merchants, academics, and policymakers to try to understand the landscape and to set some priorities about what inclusion might look like.
Lowering the Cost of Engagement
Bostic said financial inclusion means anyone can access the tools of financial markets, including credit instruments like mortgages and loans, bank accounts, and payment systems. He says it’s vital for the financial sector to encourage innovation to reduce hurdles and costs. By increasing engagement with the financial marketplace, more people can accomplish goals such as starting a business or buying a house.
Bostic said the best ideas include input from various voices and perspectives. To promote diversity in the economic and financial fields, the Atlanta Fed and the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and St. Louis have started a Federal Reserve Education Fellows program that partners with school districts to build economics curricula for middle and high school students. Bostic praised the diversity in the room and the Georgia Fintech Academy’s work in helping to ensure that the next generation of fintech leaders are ready to build a diverse and inclusive industry. The student population of the Georgia Fintech Academy is 72 percent historically excluded populations and 34 percent women.
A recording of the event can be viewed on the Georgia Fintech Academy’s YouTube Channel here.
About Rafael Bostic
Bostic took office as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in 2017, and he serves on the Federal Open Market Committee, the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. Before these roles, Bostic spent 16 years at the University of Southern California (USC) as a faculty member in real estate, public policy, planning, and development. He previously served in the Obama Administration as assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He previously worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Bostic graduated from Harvard University with a combined major in economics and psychology. He earned his doctorate in economics from Stanford University.
About the Georgia Fintech Academy
The Georgia Fintech Academy is a University System of Georgia (USG) collaboration between the State of Georgia’s fintech industry, the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, and the colleges and universities of the USG. Since it was established in 2018, the academy has educated more than 4,300 students from more than 20 different institutions across the state, enabling them to obtain specialized educational experiences needed to enter the fintech sector regardless of where they live in the state or their institution of enrollment. The student population of the academy is 71 percent historically excluded populations and 31 percent women. More than 50 fintech employers in Georgia engage with the academy; corporate sponsors have included InComm Payments, Truist, Intercontinental Exchange, Deluxe Corporation, Investco, FleetCor, Fiserv, and CUNA Mutual Group.
About the Robinson College of Business
Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business is addressing the growing need for a highly skilled fintech workforce through degree programs and certificates in fintech innovation, cybersecurity for fintech, actuarial science, quantitative risk analysis and management, and more.