Earlier this month, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard announced at a “Fed Listens” event that U.S. financial regulators will continue their efforts to improve Native American communities’ access to credit. The event, titled “Engaging Tribal Leaders on Financial Inclusion and the Economic Challenges of the Pandemic,” was held at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City and was part of “Fed Listens,” a series of gatherings to help communities tell policymakers about their economic experience.

“We will continue to focus on and seek feedback on how to best encourage impactful CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) activities in Indian Country, including for building climate resilience where needed,” said Brainard, according to Reuters. She did not comment on monetary policy or the outlook for the economy.

Other themes discussed, according to the Tulsa World, were “higher education barriers, the lack of broadband, and career readiness outside college.”

The Fed Listens initiative began in 2019, and will continue to be used to learn from a diverse range of households, individuals, and communities about their experiences recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brainard stated that the pandemic had worsened the already apparent economic disparities between white and Native American families. Native households and businesses have faced more financial difficulty, especially in accessing credit.

“The Fed Listens series of events provided valuable feedback from a broad range of groups and communities on the state of the economy and on issues related to our monetary policy goals,” said Michelle W. Bowman, another Fed Governor. “Continuing the initiative in years that we are not reviewing our framework will similarly benefit the Federal Reserve’s ongoing policymaking process, while also enhancing transparency and public accountability.”

Brainard joined the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on June 16, 2014 to fill an unexpired term ending January 31, 2026.

via Native American Financial Services Association