A Note from Americas Center Director Stephen Kay

In 2016 the Americas Center continued to serve as a hub of cooperation and collaboration for Atlanta Fed staff, while at the same time working with a range of stakeholders within and outside the Federal Reserve System. In this annual review we highlight many of our accomplishments, including:

  • A range of activities related to understanding the improvement of U.S.-Cuban economic ties and their implications for the economies of the Sixth District, including a new Cuba trade data page on the Americas Center home page
  • Participation of Atlanta Fed staff as instructors to train for Latin American bank examiners
  • Hosting workshops on anti-money laundering and cybersecurity

Throughout the year the Americas Center worked with partners from the Sixth District and beyond in carrying out a range of outreach activities related to cash operations, developing effective national and regional consolidated supervision and best practices, and establishing a better understanding of the economy. The center will continue to build on these efforts in 2017.

2016 Highlights

Interview with David Seleski
Miami Regional Executive Karen Gilmore discussed Stonegate Bank's entry into the Cuban market with bank CEO David Seleski in an Economy Matters interview. Stonegate is the only U.S. bank authorized to conduct business in Cuba. Seleski described how strong communication with regulators has been critical to his bank's success. He spoke about the challenges of initiating a correspondent banking relationship with a Cuban bank, and noted that he hoped that Stonegate's entry into the Cuban market is leading to positive change. Read the interview, including translations in Spanish and Portuguese, on the Atlanta Fed website.

Central Bank of the Bahamas delegation visits the Miami Branch

Miami Branch supports demand for cash after earthquake in Ecuador
On April 16, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the coastal region of Ecuador. The Central Bank of Ecuador contacted the Miami Branch and requested emergency funds as the bank set up distribution points to facilitate currency circulation in the hardest-hit areas. The Miami Branch worked with New York Fed colleagues to accommodate two emergency payout requests, totaling $250 million in the month of April. On December 19, a second earthquake hit Ecuador's Pacific coast, and the Miami team accommodated another Central Bank of Ecuador emergency payout request.

A commitment to teaching

The Atlanta Fed's George Holguin (front, fourth from left) and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors'
Jose Pignano (front, sixth from left) with Bank Analysis and Examination School class in Lima

Two thousand sixteen marked the 19th consecutive year that George Holguin, country manager for Spain/senior FBO analyst, served as an instructor at the Bank Analysis and Examination School in Lima, Peru. This one-week class is part of a three-month course for graduate students and bank examiners. The course is organized by the Peruvian Banking Superintendency and is sponsored by the Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas (ASBA) located in Mexico City. The class is taught in Spanish, and students come from Peru and several other Latin American countries.

Anti-money laundering workshop with North Carolina State

(l–r): Beatriz Lanata and Aline de Oliveira, participants at the FATF@25 workshop on anti-money laundering

In March, the Americas Center and North Carolina State University cohosted FATF@25, a workshop on anti-money laundering. The meeting featured presentations by political scientists and policy analysts from eight countries on the latest trends in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. The papers will be published in a special issue of the journal Crime, Law, and Social Change.

Cybersecurity risk forum
In October, the Americas Center and the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) cohosted a forum on cybersecurity risk at the Miami Branch. Panels featuring bankers and regulators discussed new developments in cybersecurity risk, followed by presentations on the regional economic outlook.

Brazil economic forecast event

Brazil economic forecast roundtable panel (l–r): Brazil Consul-General Ambassador Maria Stela Pompeu, FGV-Rio's
Fernando de Holanda Barbosa Filho, Delta Air Lines' Nelson Mikovenyi, and Americas Center Director Stephen Kay

In November, the Americas Center hosted its annual roundtable breakfast to discuss the economic forecast for Brazil. The panel featured Fernando de Holanda Barbosa Filho of FGV-Rio, Nelson Mikovenyi of Delta Air Lines, and Brazil Consul-General Ambassador Maria Stela Pompeu. The event was cosponsored with the Brazil-American Chamber and the World Affairs Council of Atlanta.

International economics workshop
The Americas Center hosted its fifth annual international economics workshop on December 8 and 9. Emory University cohosted the event, which had been cosponsored with New York University in previous years. Economists from leading universities and the Federal Reserve System presented new research on a range of topics. Highlights included the paper "Optimal Time-Consistent Taxation with Default" by Tasos Karantounias of the Atlanta Fed.

New research on immigration and labor markets
Atlanta Fed Research Economist Federico Mandelman and Boston Fed Senior Financial Economist Andrei Zlate's new working paper, "Offshoring, Low-Skilled Immigration, and Labor Market Polarization," developed a three-country stochastic growth model to rationalize the contributions of offshoring and low-skilled immigration to a job market where high and low-skilled employment is increasing and middle-skill jobs are decreasing. The working paper received media coverage in the Washington Post.

Americas Center Steering Committee and Liaisons

(Standing, l-r): Juan Sanchez, Paula Tkac, George Holguin, Nell Campbell-Drake (seated): Mary Kepler, Stephen Kay
(not pictured: Joan Buchanan, Michael Chriszt, Bevery Ferrell, Molly Willison, Sandy Juarez, John Morris, Mirna Serrano, John Sullivan)