Outlook for Interest Rates and the Economy
In her 25 years as a community banker, Betsy Duke learned first-hand the effect interest rates have on business success. Then she had a chance to directly influence the Fed’s monetary and interest rate policy decisions as a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee through some of the most turbulent years of its history. Now she helps businesses understand the processes of Fed decision making and the forces that will determine the course of interest rates in the future.
With a straightforward style, she explains complex policy decisions in the language of the business leaders and bankers she has known her whole career. She uses the official statements and speeches of current policy makers along with her own knowledge of the cadence of Fed debate to put audiences “in the room” for the next policy making decision.
Look for the Open Window
It is often said that whenever one door closes, a window opens. Betsy Duke credits the best parts of her career to forgetting the closed doors and moving on to the windows. When she graduated with a degree in dramatic art and no job, she went to work as a part-time drive-through bank teller to pay the bills. Before she was 40 years old, she became a bank CEO. She went on to become the first woman leader of both the Virginia Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association. She then joined the Federal Reserve Board, the top financial and economic policy making body in the United States. Now the first female chairman of a top U.S. bank, Betsy tells her story with humor and humility to inspire the women leaders of the future.
As a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from August 2008 to August 2013, Elizabeth "Betsy" Duke served as Chair of the Federal Reserve’s Committee on Consumer and Community Affairs and as a member of its Committee on Bank Supervision and Regulation, Committee on Bank Affairs, and Committee on Board Affairs. With a straightforward style, Duke explains complex policy decisions in the language of the business leaders and bankers she has known her whole career. Her speeches shed light on the policies and decisions that have a rippling and profound impact on our economy, and she shares her insights for the economic future ahead.
Within a mere six weeks of her swearing in as a Fed Governor in 2008, crises brewed, with home lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being taken into government conservatorship, Lehman failing and the Fed debating an $85 billion loan to AIG. The markets were bracing for a complete failure, and surely the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. Many experts credit swift and bold actions by the Fed for stopping the tailspin. Duke’s background in banking and lending proved invaluable for policy making during a financial crisis. Her working understanding of the retail banking industry shaped the decisions of the Fed during the crisis and the recovery as she became the Fed’s point person on housing, consumer and small business issues.
Prior to her appointment to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Ms. Duke was a community banker moving up from part time teller to community bank CEO. She was chief operating officer of TowneBank from 2005 to 2008, and was an executive vice president at Wachovia Bank, N.A., (2004 to 2005) and at SouthTrust Bank (2001 to 2004) which was acquired by Wachovia in 2004. Ms. Duke also served as chief executive officer of Bank of Tidewater, which was acquired by SouthTrust, and chief financial officer of Bank of Virginia Beach. She served on the board of directors of the American Bankers Association from 1999 to 2006, becoming the first woman to serve as chair of the ABA in 2004, and as a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Ms. Duke is a member of the Board of Directors of Wells Fargo & Company, where she serves on the board’s Risk Committee. She is currently an Executive-in-Residence at Old Dominion University located in Norfolk, Virginia.