View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Americas Center

Annual Review

In recent years, Latin America has undergone an economic resurgence. The region’s
economies fared relatively well during the
recent global economic crisis, and the
region has enjoyed a period of increasing
prosperity as concerns about risks in the
global economy have focused on Europe
and the United States.
As Latin America’s economies have
grown in recent years, so have their ties to
the Sixth Federal Reserve District. The
Atlanta Fed’s Country Risk and Foreign
Banking Organization (FBO) Analysis Unit
is actively engaged with regulatory and

banking sector counterparts in the region
as part of its supervisory and outreach
responsibilities. FedGlobal® ACH Payments
delivers a range of low-cost and efficient
cross-border payments, the Miami Branch
provides cash services to 33 countries
in Latin America and the Caribbean, and
economists in the Atlanta Fed’s Research
Department are in contact with colleagues
at central banks throughout the hemisphere as they develop new analytical and
forecasting tools.
We have much to learn from the region
as it faces the challenges of further economic and financial-sector development. I
experienced this firsthand in 2011 when
I visited the region and engaged with my
counterparts in Lima and São Paulo to
learn about microenterprise in Latin America. Indeed, the advances in the region’s
burgeoning microenterprise sector provide
many lessons for the United States.
This past year was a successful one
for the Americas Center. We share some
of the high points of the center’s outreach
and other initiatives in this Annual Review.
We held a successful consumer banking

conference in Miami, “Strengthening the
Financial Safety Net in Emerging Economies,” and we cohosted with the University of Miami’s Center for Hemispheric
Policy and the World Affairs Council a
policy roundtable, moderated by Atlanta
Fed President and CEO Dennis Lockhart,
on Latin America’s economic challenges.
A major highlight of 2011 was President
Lockhart’s visit to Santiago, Chile, and São
Paulo, Brazil, where he met with central
bank colleagues, bankers, regulators, and
students. I invite you to read on (and check
out our website) for more details of the
year’s accomplishments.
As we look ahead to 2012, the Americas Center will be involved in a range of
initiatives that are closely aligned with our
mission to support the Federal Reserve
Bank of Atlanta’s responsibilities in key
supervisory, financial, and economic matters related to the Americas. We welcome
your input on initiatives and invite you to
contact us with your thoughts, ideas, and
proposals for programs. n


Our mission: To provide leadership
to fulfill the Bank’s responsibilities in key supervisory, financial,
and economic matters related to
the Americas by fostering effective cross-functional collaboration
and communication among Bank,
System, public and private sector

The Americas Center, launched in 2005, is a cooperative initiative among the Federal
Reserve System’s Retail Payments Office, based in Atlanta, and the Atlanta Fed’s Supervision and Regulation, Research, and Operations and Administrative Services departments.
The center provides a framework for collaboration among bank staff whose responsibilities relate to the Americas. This collaboration enables the Bank to make the best use of
its strengths and integrate its resources to serve internal and external constituencies
through a wide variety of initiatives. These initiatives include sponsoring policy conferences, analyzing key regional banking and economic trends in the area, participating in
exchange programs, providing technical assistance, and conducting public outreach and
educational activities.

This Annual Review highlights the Americas Center’s most significant projects, products,
programs, and initiatives in 2011. These highlights reflect the accomplishments of committed staff from throughout our organization, often in partnership with colleagues from
other institutions. We invite you to visit our website to learn more and to sign up to receive
e-mail notices from the Americas Center.
Providing a leadership role in payments and
facilitating bancarización for underserved consumers
FedGlobal ACH sponsored a number of outreach efforts throughout the year. These efforts
promoted awareness of the potential of the remittance market for financial institutions
and to coordinate efforts among our partners, including the FDIC and U.S. Department of


the Treasury, to support underserved consumer markets with services such as Directo a
México. Among the many notable promotional events was the official opening of the corridor between Kansas City and the town of Tangancicuaro, Mexico, during the Kansas City
Fed’s Financial Literacy Week in April.
FedGlobal ACH also participated in a celebration of the opening of the Directo a
México account-to-receiver service with the Latino Community Credit Union and the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh, North Carolina. This celebration was scheduled to coincide with
promotional events for the new service in the Mexican cities of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, and
San Luis Potosí. In November, FedGlobal ACH participated in another promotional event
for the account-to-receiver service at Family Federal Credit Union in Los Angeles. This
event was attended by more than 300 people, including U.S. Representative Janice Hahn
and California State Senator Ted Lieu, who presented awards to the Family Federal Credit
Union for working with underserved communities through Directo a México.
At the regional Payments Week (“Semana de Pagos”) meeting in Paraguay, FedGlobal
ACH took a leadership role in supporting the Western Hemisphere Payments Initiative’s
goal of establishing a regional payments hub. The hub will link all of the payments systems
in the Americas.
Broadening and deepening access to consumer banking products
and services, financial education, and community outreach programs
Last May, more than 100 local and international participants attended the Americas
Center’s third Consumer Banking Conference, “Strengthening the Financial Safety Net in
Emerging Markets,” at Miami’s Florida International University. Panelists representing several financial institutions and organizations in the region and the United States discussed
strategies for developing banking products and services to meet community needs. They
also examined how the provision of responsive and responsible financial services contributes to the growth and stability of communities and looked at the role of mobile payments


in the evolution of financial services and money management in emerging markets. The
keynote speaker was Ambassador Charles Shapiro of the U.S. State Department, who
spoke about economic inclusion in the Western Hemisphere. The conference agenda and
presentations are available on the Atlanta Fed’s website.
In June, Regional Community Development Director Ana Cruz-Taura gave a presentation on remittances as a financial inclusion tool at the Latin American SWIFT User Community Conference (ELUS 2011) in the Dominican Republic. She provided an overview of
the Federal Reserve System’s FedGlobal ACH product and highlighted the important role of

An Atlanta Fed delegation led by President
Dennis Lockhart visited Chile and Brazil
in November. In Santiago, the Atlanta Fed
representatives attended the Chilean
central bank’s annual monetary policy
conference, “Capital Mobility and Monetary
Policy.” The conference was organized by
Carmen Reinhart of the Peterson Institute
for International Economics and Miguel
Fuentes of the Central Bank of Chile. President Lockhart also met with representatives of Chile’s financial sector at an event
hosted by the Chilean Banking Association
(Asociación de Bancos e Instituciones
Financieras) and attended a meeting with

several officials of the Chile’s Banking Superintendency (Superintendencia de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras). In São
Paulo, the group met with Brazil’s central
bank governor Alexandre Tombini as well
as several deputy governors and senior
supervisory officials. They discussed monetary policy, payments, and supervisory
challenges in the hemisphere.
President Lockhart also delivered a
speech to students and faculty at the
Fundação Getulio Vargas School of Economics and participated in a roundtable
breakfast meeting sponsored by FEBRABAN, the Brazilian Bankers Association,

which was well-attended by senior economists from Brazilian banks.
The trip provided multiple opportunities to gather information about economic
and banking sector developments in the
region and to exchange views with central
bank and bank superintendency/banking
association colleagues on monetary policy
research, bank supervision, and payments.
It was also an opportunity for outreach—
President Lockhart had an opportunity to
speak with faculty and students, and his
speech in São Paulo was covered by the
media. n


financial education in expanding access to banking for individuals and providing financial
stability for communities.
In 2011, the Community and Economic Development team continued its small business initiative, which seeks to identify barriers to entrepreneurship and challenges in
financing small business growth and expansion. Small business is an important catalyst
for economic vitality, particularly in immigrant and minority neighborhoods, as well as a
principal source of new jobs.
At a community forum in Davie, FL, “The Immigrant and Minority Business Landscape,”
participants discussed the role of small business in South Florida’s economic growth and
recovery. Leaders in regional business development, education, entrepreneurship, and
finance discussed barriers and opportunities that are unique to immigrant and minority
businesses. Though cultural barriers are often assumed to impede the assimilation of
immigrants into business ownership, English language proficiency and basic business
management capacity were cited as the principal challenges to foreigners trying to establish and grow a small business.
In November, at the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
Conference in Washington, DC, Myriam Quispe-Agnoli gave a presentation titled “MinorityOwned Small Business: Results from the Survey of Business Owners.” Coauthored with
Cruz-Taura, the paper analyzes the performance of minority-owned small businesses
between 2002 and 2007 in the United States.
Developing effective U.S. and region-wide consolidated supervision best practices
During 2011, the Country Risk and FBO Analysis Unit conducted FBO visits to Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Spain. Beyond executing the FBO program responsibilities,
these visits also served very useful outreach purposes. For instance, Atlanta Fed staff participated in the Florida International Bankers Association’s (FIBA) first international forum
held in Madrid, Spain, in May. The purpose of the forum, titled “Spain-Florida International


Forum on Cross Border Banking and Regulatory Issues,” was to enhance communications
and coordination between Spain’s regulators and business/banking communities and
those in the United States. Atlanta Fed Assistant Vice President Carolyn Healy spoke at
the event on regulatory reforms currently taking place in the United States.
Additionally, Atlanta Fed staff worked closely with the Board of Governors by frequently
serving as bilingual instructors on foreign technical assistance (FTA) missions for classes
held in the United States and abroad, and attended by foreign regulators. FTA activities
throughout the year included classes conducted in Aruba, Brazil, Barbados, Costa Rica,
Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, the Philippines, and Russia, as well as in several inter­
national schools in Washington, DC.
Fed representatives also spoke at the Financial Action Task Force of South America
meeting in Lima, Peru, and participated in anti-money laundering conferences in Medellin

On October 19, the Atlanta Fed held a
roundtable called “Transforming Opportunities into Realities: Achieving Latin
America’s Growth Potential.” The event was
cosponsored with the University of Miami’s
Center for Hemispheric Policy and in association with the World Affairs Council. President Lockhart moderated the discussion,
and the distinguished panelists included
Dr. Kirk Bowman (Georgia Tech), Dr. Jeffry
Frieden (Harvard), Dr. Susan Kaufman

Purcell (University of Miami), and Dr. John
Welch (CIBC World Markets). The panelists
discussed current trends in the region and
its prospects for economic growth.
John Welch observed that countries in
the region have had to manage abundance,
and that economic booms reduce incentives to undertake needed reforms. Jeffry
Frieden discussed the range of potential
political and economic consequences of
debt deleveraging in the United States and

Europe, which he suggests could include
heightened political conflict and austerity measures, protectionism, and shifting
patterns of global trade. Kirk Bowman analyzed Brazil’s preparation for the Olympics
and World Cup and discussed the government’s key challenges. Susan Kaufman
Purcell noted that despite significant progress, Latin American countries still need
to focus on regulatory reform and reduce
levels of poverty and corruption. n


and Cartagena, Colombia. Staff also conducted web-based courses for members of FIBA
on trade finance.
Building a better understanding of economic and financial dynamics in the Americas
The second-quarter 2011 edition of EconSouth features an article on growing trade ties
between China and Latin America. The authors found that the trade relationship between
China and Latin America is complex, and the costs and benefits vary considerably among
the countries of the region. Complementing the article is a podcast interview with Georgia
Institute of Technology Professor Dan Breznitz, who describes the impact and influence of
China’s innovation strategies.
On December 2, the Americas Center hosted the fifth annual Southeastern International
Development/Economics Workshop. This meeting has grown from a small Atlanta-area
workshop to a conference that draws national and international interest. The nine presenters at the conference covered a range of topics related to economic development. Presentations are available on the Atlanta Fed website.
Throughout the year, Atlanta Fed economists developed new research on topics related
to the Americas, including immigration, remittances, and pensions. Myriam Quispe-Agnoli
presented her research in a presentation titled “The Economic Impact of Undocumented
Workers in the U.S. Labor Market” at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and “Undocumented Workers and the U.S. Business Cycles” at the Central Bank of Peru. Federico
Mandelman published “Business Cycles and the Role of Imperfect Competition in the
Banking System” in International Finance and coauthored “Investment-Specific Technology
Shocks and International Business Cycles: An Empirical Assessment” in Review of Economic Dynamics. Stephen Kay coauthored “Next Generation of Individual Account Pension
Reforms,” which was published in Social Security Bulletin. Many of these publications are
available on the Atlanta Fed website.


The Miami Branch of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Atlanta serves as one of the two
primary Fed offices that help satisfy global
demand for the U.S.-dollar currency notes
and coin. As a gateway to the Americas,
Miami provides cash services to 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean,
making dollar payments to and accepting
dollar deposits from financial institutions

throughout the region, including several
central banks. International cash services
contribute 48 percent of Miami’s total cash
volume and about 18 percent of the total
Sixth District volume.
The value of U.S. currency payments to
international endpoints in 2011 increased
by 35 percent over 2010, driven largely by
high demand in Argentina and Peru as a

result of the 2011 presidential elections
in these countries. In contrast, currency
deposits to the Miami Branch declined by
4 percent from the previous year, continuing a trend that illustrates the impact of reduced remittance flows into Latin America
as a result of the United States’ economic
slowdown and the global financial crisis. n

Americas Center Dissertation Internship
Each year, the Americas Center invites doctoral candidates who are writing dissertations
in the field of economics on topics that have a direct link to Latin America and the Caribbean to apply for the Americas Center summer dissertation internship. The students are
expected to make significant progress on their dissertation during their eight-week tenure
at the Bank. They are asked to make two formal presentations of their research and to
be available for consultation with staff from the Research Department and other areas of
the Bank. The dissertation intern for 2011 was Jungjae Park of the University of Wisconsin, whose dissertation analyzes sovereign risk. While in residence at the Atlanta Fed,
he worked on a quantitative model of endogenous sovereign default to explain empirical
regularities. n


Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
Professor, Department
of Economics
San Diego State University
Kenneth Coates
Martin Eichenbaum
Ethel and John Lindgren
Professor of Economics
Northwestern University
Jeffry Frieden
Stanfield Professor of
International Peace
Department of Government
Harvard University
Susan Kaufman Purcell
Director, Center for
Hemispheric Policy
University of Miami

Americas Center Coordinator
Stephen J. Kay
Senior Economist
Research Department
Steering Committee
Todd Greene
Vice President
Community and Economic
Michael Chriszt
Assistant Vice President
Research Department
Thomas J. Cunningham
Vice President and Associate
Director of Research
Carolyn Healy
Assistant Vice President
Banking Supervision
Miami Branch

James M. McKee
Senior Vice President
Retail Payments Office
Robert Schenck
Vice President
International Banking
Ana Cruz-Taura
Regional Community
Development Director
Community Affairs
Miami Branch
Laurel Graefe
Senior Economic Analyst
Research Department
Paul Graham
Assistant Vice President
Miami Branch
George Holguin
Country Manager/Senior
FBO Analyst
International Banking Supervision
Miami Branch

Nancy Jaimes
Director, Country Risk and
FBO Analysis Unit
International Banking Supervision
Miami Branch
David Jimenez
FBO Analyst
International Banking Supervision
Miami Branch
Jorge Jimenez
RPO Product Development Director
FedGlobal ACH
Sandy Juárez
Senior Project Leader
District Cash Function Office
Operations and Administrative
New Orleans Branch
Roxana Maneiro
Country Manager/Senior FBO
International Banking Supervision
Miami Branch


Some members of the Americas Center staff: (l–r) James McKee, Todd Greene, Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, Stephen Kay, Laurel Graefe, Tom Cunningham