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Connecting with Community Bankers

The Richmond Fed held three community banking forums in October and November that drew more than 100 banking professionals and leaders to our District locations in Baltimore, Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

By Laura Fortunato

It’s not every day that leaders from regulatory agencies like the Federal Reserve gather informally with community banking executives to discuss timely issues, concerns and changes in the industry. Usually the engagement is formal and involves transactions like supervisory examinations, use of the Fed’s discount window, or payments and cash distribution services.

So the past few years the Richmond Fed has hosted a forum for community bankers at our Richmond office to build and enhance relationships with community bankers and leaders. This year we held forums at all three District locations — Baltimore, Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. More than 100 people attended the October and November forums and engaged Bank leaders, including President Tom Barkin, who shared his views of the economy and fielded questions from attendees. Our regional economists provided detailed updates on the regional and national economies.

“These forums provide an opportunity to ask questions, share perspectives and exchange information about the economy and the real-time community banking environment,” explained Sean O’Hara, Financial Institution Outreach coordinator.

Joan Garton, vice president, Supervision, Regulation and Credit, participates in a regulator roundtable.

The forum agendas included sessions led by our Supervision, Regulation and Credit function on industry topics such as risk-related issues and vendor management. There also were regulatory panel discussions by representatives of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the Richmond Fed.

“We chose to present and discuss topics that are timely and of importance to the industry,” explained Joan Garton, vice president in Supervision, Regulation and Credit at the Richmond Fed. “The forum discussions help regulators and bankers stay abreast of developing issues and potential risks.”

Brent Hassell, senior manager, Supervision, Regulation and Credit, discusses consumer compliance hot topics.

Our leaders also provided insights into relevant legislation and discussed efforts to advance dialogue on important issues impacting the financial service industry, such as workforce development, leadership and financial innovation. These topics also were the focus of several Bank programs held this past fall including a two-day forum for minority bankers held at our branch office in Charlotte, North Carolina, that focused on professional development and networking, as well as diversity and inclusion best practices in the financial services industry.

“We are committed to diversity in our workforce and among our suppliers,” Becky Bareford, first vice president and chief operating officer at the Richmond Fed, told the 150 attendees.

The Richmond Fed also recently held a town hall meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on potential actions it can take to promote safe and efficient faster payments. The public comment period continues through December 14.

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