Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending February 6, 2016; Monetary Policy Report; The Problem with an Academic Fed

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending February 6, 2016, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received 

Category Action Taken
Board Operations Board Budget — operating and capital budgets for 2016.

-Approved, February 1, 2016


Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Senior Credit Officer Opinion Survey on Dealer Financing Terms (FR 2034) and Monthly Report of Traveler’s Checks Outstanding (FR 2054).

-Proposed, February 3, 2016


Enforcement Asian Financial Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Asian Bank — cease and desist order issued August 1, 2012, terminated January 19, 2016.

-Announced, February 2, 2016


HSBC North America Holdings, Inc., New York, New York, and HSBC Finance Corporation, Mettawa, Illinois — issuance of a consent order of assessment of a civil money penalty for deficiencies in residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.

-Announced, February 5, 2016


New Peoples Bankshares, Inc., Honaker, Virginia, and New Peoples Bank, Inc. — written agreement issued July 29, 2010, terminated January 20, 2016.

-Announced, February 2, 2016


Northern States Financial Corporation, Waukegan, Illinois — written agreement issued March 17, 2011, terminated January 22, 2016.

-Announced, February 2, 2016


Severn Bancorp, Inc., Annapolis, Maryland — supervisory agreement issued by the Office of Thrift Supervision, dated November 29, 2009, terminated January 21, 2016.

-Announced, February 2, 2016





Monetary Policy Report, February 2016 

In addition, the Monetary Policy Report (MPR) hearings have been held this week.

Monetary Policy Report (February 2016): http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/20160210_mprfullreport.pdf

U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Senate
February 10, 2016, 10:00 a.m., House Financial Services Committee February 11, 2016, 10:00 a.m., Senate Banking Committee
Press release: http://financialservices.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400197 Press release: http://www.banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2016/2/semiannual-monetary-report-to-congress
Testimony: http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/testimony/yellen20160210a.htm  (Testimony identical to House version.)

A Comment

At the MPR Senate hearing, Chair Janet Yellen responded to a question of the long-term unemployed. I query why Members of Congress ask the Board’s Chair that question when the Chair and the agency have no direct experience with unemployed persons. That job belongs to the U.S. Department of Labor and the state employment agencies. I took umbrage at the meta message of the well-worn response to Senator Robert Melendez (D-N.J.)– that long-term unemployed people cannot find work because somehow after the 26-week unemployment period previous skills that maintained their livelihood previously disappear.

This answer not only insulting to those unfortunate not to be able to find employment but also justifies the current 26-week period of unemployment benefits. (Note: I guess the thought is that it is useless to keep paying benefits if skills disappear over the benefit period. I am not sure how this happens.)

An explanation, like the one Yellen provided, also gives room for employers to reject applications. (If the position was advertised 52 weeks after the person became unemployed, what else can the affected person do but apply?) Moreover, what if the occupational category contracts–that is, loses jobs? The economist answer plainly ignores this possibility. For these reasons, I find the response to be insufficient and borderline callous.

Additionally, such a response falls flat because of the change of the method of applying: resumes must be tailored to the job description. Economist suggestions simply to move around the country for work (as if people already living there are not also looking at the same jobs), willfully ignoring the extreme costs for such relocation, further the impression that economists are pro-management and anti-labor, if not anti-human.


The Board is so academically inclined that the effect of policy on human beings is disregarded. Indeed, unemployment issues simply cannot be done at the Fed. The Fed takes too high a view on things and is narrowly focused on monetary policy. Reform in dealing with unemployment policy is needed at once, with the inclusion of other agencies and other social science discliplines as a necessary first step.

[Author’s note: I would be irresponsible not to mention the following. The Board’s treatment of some of its own employees suggests strongly that the Board needs reform in its internal policies to ensure truly fair implementation of employment policies (that is, a rejection of rank and yank).]

Artist: michael sloan