Who is Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George?

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As president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, Esther George had a major part in the central bank's efforts to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from triggering an economic catastrophe.

“The banking system is critical right now to the public’s ability to get access to credit, whether you're a business or a consumer,” George told the Kansas City Business Journal at the beginning of April.

George is not a member of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year; she will return as an alternate member in 2021 and a voting member in 2022. She is one of the three women to lead the Fed's 12 district banks.


George joined the Fed in 1982, with a significant part of her career taking place in risk management. Eventually, she was responsible for the Kansas City Fed's discount window and risk management functions; during the banking crisis of the 1980s, and the post-9/11 crisis, George was directly involved in the district's discount window lending activities.

She was appointed as leader of the Kansas City Fed in 2011.

In 2019, when the U.S. central bank voted three times to slash interest rates to offset the pain of the U.S.-China trade war, George dissented three times, preferring no action.


"There are certainly risks to the outlook as the economy faces the crosscurrents emanating from trade policy uncertainty and weaker global activity," George said in an August statement, explaining her decision. "Should incoming data point to a weakening economy, I would be prepared to adjust policy consistent with the Federal Reserve’s mandates for maximum sustainable employment and stable prices.”

George was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, and holds a bachelor's degree from Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph and an MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


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