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Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

2014 AMERICAS CENTER
ANNUAL REVIEW

A Note from Atlanta Fed Vice President

Juan Sanchez

As the senior officer for the International Supervision and Consumer Compliance department, I am a true believer in the importance of
maintaining open dialogue and communications, specifically related to understanding the
connection between events and conditions in
the Sixth District, the Americas, and our global
economy. The Atlanta Fed’s Americas Center
provides our staff with a unique opportunity to
gather information and to collaborate among
the various functions within the Atlanta Fed.
The goal is to develop well-balanced and
more holistic views about current economic,
political, and financial conditions throughout
the Americas and globally.
•

The Americas Center had an outstanding year
in 2014. This Annual Review provides a summary of some of the center’s major outreach
activities and accomplishments throughout
the year.

•

Following are examples of the center’s activities that impacted the critical emerging policy
and regulatory areas of vital interest to our
Bank’s mission:
•

•

The Retail Payments Office continued to
work toward expanding the global reach
of the FedACH, through discussions with
central banks in the Western hemisphere
and also pursuing global partnerships
that would provide worldwide access.
The Sixth District International Cash Unit
pursued its goal of leadership in international cash services through significant
contributions to System risk management
efforts. This was in collaboration with
the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,
the Board of Governors, and the global
banknote dealers.

The Americas Center pursued economic
and monetary research on key hemispheric policy challenges, through workshops on new research in international
economics with partner universities.
The Bank’s International Supervision
department leveraged thought leadership to increase the effectiveness of
supervision of financial institutions. The
department hosted an outreach forum at
the Miami Branch in conjunction with the
Florida International Bankers Association
(FIBA) on South Florida International
Economy and the Latin America Outlook,
and Implementation of the Enhanced
Prudential Standards–Section 165 of the
Dodd-Frank Act.

In 2014, the Americas Center worked with the
Atlanta Fed, the Federal Reserve System, and
public and private stakeholders and external
partners to provide leadership in key supervisory, financial, and economic matters related
to the Americas and Spain. In 2015, the
Americas Center will continue to build on this
foundation. n
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THE AMERICAS CENTER’S PURPOSE
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 divisions. The center provides a framework for collaboration among Bank staff whose responsibilities relate to the Americas and
Spain. This collaboration enables the Bank more effectively to leverage its
strengths and integrate its resources to serve internal and external constituencies through a wide variety of initiatives. These efforts include sponsoring
policy conferences, analyzing key regional banking and economic trends in the
area, participating in exchange programs, furnishing technical assistance, and
conducting public outreach and educational activities.
Our vision: To contribute to informed policies and practices that respond to
the changing dynamics in Latin American, Caribbean, and Spanish financial institutions and markets. The center will bring thought leadership to the
critical emerging policy and regulatory areas that are of vital interest to our
Bank’s mission.

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2014 HIGHLIGHTS

Caribbean Group of Banking Supervision and the Federal Reserve System
Risk Management and Internal Controls Seminar

Sixth District cash operations
The Miami Branch of the Atlanta Fed serves as
one of two primary Fed offices that help satisfy
global demand for U.S. banknotes and coins,
making payments to and accepting deposits
from financial institutions that have included
several central banks throughout Latin America
and the Caribbean. In 2014, the Miami Branch
provided cash services to more than 40
countries in the region, including the dollarized
nations of Panama, Ecuador, and El Salvador.
International cash services comprise half of
the Miami Branch’s total cash activity.

market intelligence dialogue. The initial calls
were well received and will serve as a benchmark for future outreach calls.

In January, Miami International Cash, in collaboration with the New York Fed’s Central Bank and
International Account Services (CBIAS), hosted
several market intelligence conference calls with
the central banks of Ecuador and Panama, as
well as De Nederlandsche Bank, which services
the Dutch Antilles Islands. The new quarterly
initiative engages central bank cash operations
officials in operational, customer service, and

Developing effective national and regional
consolidated supervision best practices
In 2014, the Atlanta Fed’s International
Supervision/Country Risk & Foreign Banking
Organization (FBO) Analysis staff participated
in two supervisory colleges for global foreign
banking organizations with a significant presence in the Sixth District. The colleges were
organized by the home country supervisors of

Miami International Cash participated in several
outreach activities, including hosting an international delegation from Ecuador. For the third
year in a row, the Miami Branch of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Atlanta hosted delegates of the
Cash Cycle Seminar, formerly ICCOS Americas.
Representatives from more than 70 countries
attended, including vendors, armored carriers,
and commercial and central bankers.

3

International Supervision
Outreach

ated supervisory regime, the Single Supervisory Mechanism, under the auspices of the
European Central Bank. A major objective of
supervisory colleges is to improve communication among host supervisors from countries
where global banks have a presence.

International Supervision continues to play
a key role in coordinating Americas Center
outreach events geared toward the interests
of our international and foreign banking
organization constituents located in South
Florida. On October 7, 2014, International
Supervision, in conjunction with the Florida
International Bankers Association, hosted a
morning outreach forum at the Miami Branch
on two current topics of interest to FIBA’s
membership: South Florida International
Economy and the Latin America Outlook, and
Implementation of the Enhanced Prudential
Standards–Section 165 of the Dodd Frank Act
(DFA). The event was well attended by FIBA’s
membership, largely consisting of foreign
bank representatives with a U.S. operations
presence in Miami. n

International and FBO supervision staff also
hosted a meeting at the Miami Branch with
the visiting examination team from the Banking Superintendency of Peru. These ongoing
opportunities to meet with supervisory counterparts continue to support the Americas Center’s
mission to build solid working relationships
across the region and get a more in-depth
understanding of home country supervisory
programs and evolving risks and trends.
International Supervision once again supported
the Federal Reserve System’s global foreign
technical assistance initiatives in 2014.
Atlanta Fed supervision staff, representing
diverse areas of technical expertise, served as
instructors at programs hosted by foreign regulatory agencies and multilateral organizations
held in Peru, Mexico, Panama, the British Virgin
Islands, and Thailand.

the countries of Spain and Brazil. The staff also
visited Chile to meet with various head office
FBOs and supervisory/regulatory counterparts.
These colleges and visits continue to support
International Supervision’s core responsibilities under the Foreign Bank Supervision
Program and evolving Dodd-Frank Act implementation in the United States. Of particular
note, the Bank of Spain’s supervisory college
included representatives from the newly cre-

Last year marked the 17th consecutive year
that George Holguin, International Supervision and Regulation country manager/senior
examiner, participated as an instructor at the
Bank Analysis and Examination School in
Lima, Peru. This one-week school is part of
a three-month course for Peruvian graduate

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Dennis Lockhart moderating a discussion among the ambassadors from
the Visegrad Group countries at a World Affairs Council of Atlanta event

students and bank examiners from throughout the Americas. The course is organized by
the Peruvian Banking Superintendency and
sponsored by the Association of Supervisors of
Banks of the Americas located in Mexico City.
The class, taught in Spanish, included students
from Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua,
Costa Rica, Honduras, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia,
Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, El Salvador, and
Haiti. Domestically, Atlanta Fed supervision
staff also served as instructors at schools held
in Washington, D.C. ,and San Francisco for
examination staff representing various foreign
regulatory agencies from around the world.

the Americas. In 2014, the RPO participated
in a number of outreach efforts in partnership
with various Latin American entities.
The RPO partnered with the Central Bank of
Mexico, the Institute for Mexicans Abroad,
NACHA, and U.S. regional payments associations to increase awareness and promote the
FedGlobal ACH offerings, including the Directo
a México services. The RPO also collaborated
with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs
to facilitate banking opportunities for underbanked and underserved communities.
In February, RPO staff, along with Federal
Reserve Financial Services sales staff from the
Seventh District, partnered with the Chicago
Mexican Consulate in hosting a FedGlobal
ACH user group forum. In March, RPO staff
participated in the Mexican Financial Education week hosted by the Mexican Consulate in
New York. Ambassador Sandra Fuentes of the
New York Consulate of Mexico, leaders from

Leadership in supporting international
payments
The Retail Payments Office (RPO) continued
its role in providing international payment services in the Americas and other jurisdictions.
The Federal Reserve’s FedGlobal ACH services
currently reach 35 countries, including 13 in

5

Spanish and Portuguese
Translations Catch On

Building a better understanding of the
economy
In November and December, the Americas
Center hosted three workshops devoted to
understanding new research on a range of
economic topics. In the Hispanic Economic
Issues meeting, cohosted with the American
Society of Hispanic Economists, economists
explored a range of innovative new research
on a broad set of economic issues important not only to Hispanic populations in the
United States, but also to the nation as a
whole. Highlights included Luisa Blanco’s presentation of her coauthored paper “Access to
Financial Services and the Well Being of Middle-Aged and Older African Americans and
Hispanics,” and Tiffany Green’s coauthored
paper “Impact of Medicaid Policy Environment on Prenatal Care Utilization and Birth
Outcomes among Immigrants.” The keynote
speaker was Mark Hugo Lopez, the director
of Hispanic research at the Pew Research
Center, who spoke about emerging trends in
the Hispanic community.

The Americas Center seeks to reach audiences throughout the hemisphere through its
many translations of original Atlanta Fed content that are featured on its website. In fact,
each year, the most widely viewed EconSouth
magazine articles are those translated into
Spanish and Portuguese. The most popular
article for the past several years is a Portuguese
translation of an article on China’s economic
growth. The Americas Center site also features
translations of supervisory documents and
blog posts on international payments. The
Americas Center website also features podcasts in both English and Spanish. n

the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, and the
Office for the Defense of Consumers spoke on
financial inclusion and praised the FedGlobal
ACH Directo a México service as a cross-border
remittance offering aiding in the facilitation of
financial inclusion for Mexican migrants.

In the Workshop on International Economics, cosponsored with New York University,
economists presented leading-edge research
on monetary policy, sovereign debt, and firms
in the open economy. Highlights include the
papers “The Growth of Emerging Economies
and Global Macroeconomic Stability” by
Vincenzo Quadrini and “Firm-to-Firm Trade:
Imports, Exports, and the Labor Market,”

In May, an RPO staff member moderated a
panel at the SWIFT Latin American Regional
Conference in Mexico City. The session was on
regional payment Infrastructure in the Western
hemisphere, with panel participants representing CEMLA and the Central Bank of Mexico.

6

Fulton County Chairman John Eaves, World Affairs Council Executive Vice
President Cedric Suzman, and Stephen Kay at a Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce panel on Brazil’s economy

presented by Jonathan Eaton. At the Southeastern International Development Economics workshop, cosponsored with the Georgia
Institute of Technology’s Economics Department, economists from regional universities
presented new research on a range of topics
related to economic development. Highlights
included “A Bridge to (In)Equality: The Distributional Effects of Investing in Infrastructure,” by
John Gibson and Felix Rioja, and a keynote
speech on economic developments in Central
and Eastern Europe by former Atlanta Fed
Research director Sheila Tschinkel.

Macroeconomic Dynamics” at the ITAM-University of Pennsylvania Macro Meetings in Mexico
City and “Offshoring, Low-Skilled Immigration,
and Labor Market Polarization” at the NBER
Summer Institute in Boston.
Dissertation internship program
Each year, the Americas Center invites doctoral
candidates who are writing dissertations in
the field of economics to apply for a summer
dissertation internship. Typical dissertation
topics directly relate to economics in Latin
America and the Caribbean. The students are
expected to make significant progress on their
dissertation during their stay, and are asked
to make two presentations of their research
and be available for consultation with staff. In
2014, Pablo Cuba of the University of Maryland was selected. Pablo’s dissertation is titled
“The Effect of the ZLB on Investment Dynamics
during the Great Recession.” n

Throughout the year, Atlanta Fed economists
developed new research on a range of topics
related to the Americas, including immigration, remittances, and pensions. Stephen Kay
coauthored two articles with Milko Matijascic
on pension reform and social policy in Brazil
that were published in the International Social
Security Review. Federico Mandelman presented “Labor Market Polarization and International

7

AMERICAS CENTER ANNUAL REVIEW STRUCTURE
Americas Center Director
Stephen J. Kay
Senior Economist
Research Department

Steering Committee
Joan Buchanan
Vice President
Office of Minority and Women Inclusion

Liaisons
Laurel Graefe
Director, Regional Economic
Information Network
Research Department

Nell Campbell-Drake
Vice President
Retail Payments Office
Michael J. Chriszt
Vice President and Public Information Officer
Public Affairs

George Holguin
Country Manager/Senior FBO Analyst
International Banking Supervision

Paul Graham
Vice President and Branch Manager
Miami Branch

Nancy Jaimes
Director, Country Risk and FBO Analysis Unit
International Banking Supervision
Miami Branch

Mary Kepler
Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
Risk and Compliance

David Jimenez
FBO Analyst
International Banking Supervision
Miami Branch

Juan Sanchez
Vice President
International Banking Supervision/Outreach

Jorge Jimenez
RPO Product Development Director
FedGlobal ACH

Paula Tkac
Vice President and Senior Economist
Research

Sandy Juárez
Director, Project Management
District Cash Function Office
Operations and Administrative Services
New Orleans Branch

Molly Willison
Assistant Vice President
International/Community Banking Supervision
Miami Branch

Roxana Maneiro
Country Manager/Sr. FBO Analyst
International Banking Supervision
Miami Branch

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frbatlanta.org/americascenter