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A conflict of interest inside the Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve, as many other central banks, regulates its own customers: this is – according the former Fed vice Chairman Alan S. Blinder – “an odd arrangement”. “There are a lot of businesses in America that would like to regulate their own customers – he wrote on a paper about ‘Central Banking in a Democracy’ – but very few get to do that. In my view, it is a great mistake for the Federal Reserve to see itself as a service organization for the benefit of banks, however. It is a mistake that people in the Federal Reserve System make occasionally, but fortunately not very often”.

Today, after a huge financial turmoil, in the board of the New York Fed are Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer at JPMorgan, the investment bank that bailed out Bear Stearns with the help of the Federal reserve; and Jeffrey Immel, chairman, president and CEO of General Electric, a technological and financial group, (together with Denis M. Hughes, President of New York State AFL-CIO, the trade union). Three bankers are in the board of each Federal Reserve District Bank (and this is bad), but the New York Fed is the most important among them: it implements monetary policy, supervises and regulates financial institutions and helps maintain the nation's payment systems.

Two top bankers in that board are definitely a huge mistake.