Elizabeth Duke

EXCLUSIVE
  • Governor of the Federal Reserve (2008-2013)
  • Expert on Monetary Policy With Experience in Retail Banking and Business Lending
  • First Female Chairman of a Top U.S. Bank


Elizabeth “Betsy” Duke is a highly regarded banker with many firsts as a woman in banking. Although she has been a key decisionmaker in the boardroom of both the Federal Reserve and a major US bank, her commonsense view of the world was shaped in 30 years of community banking and small business lending. She joined the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 2008, just as the financial crisis got underway. With her practical understanding of the banking industry, she was the Fed’s point person on housing, consumer and small business issues during the crisis and the recovery. She stepped up to chair the board of directors of Wells Fargo after the discovery of serious sales practices issues required that company to take a hard look at its culture. As Board Chair she oversaw a nearly complete replacement of the board and management team and maintained regular dialogue with investors and regulators.

Today, her understanding of the perspectives of both investors and public policymakers combines with her high-level experience and crisis-tested judgement to give color and texture to her remarks. Audiences appreciate that Duke has walked down Wall Street, Main Street, and Constitution Avenue. Her speeches and panel discussions highlight the interplay between the banking system and the economy with a focus on fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policy. With a conversational style, she approaches policy from the standpoint of the factors that shape it and the consequences that flow from it.

 

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Rave Reviews About Elizabeth Duke
Early feedback was very positive. Attendees really enjoyed Betsy’s insight and the conversational format — lots of really great questions and she was cool and candid, and was a delight.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Elizabeth Duke
  • Eagen, Inc.
Virt. Keynote & Panel - How resilient are the banks, and how are they supporting the economy? | Brookings [36:40] - Get Sharable Link
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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 ...

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 t ...

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. In 2008 she was the seventh woman ever appointed to the Federal Reserve Board, the top financial and economic policy making body in the United States. While serving on the board of Wells Fargo and Company, she became the first female chairman of a top U.S. bank. Betsy was honored as one of eight women in the Library of Virginia’s 2014 “Virginia Women in History.” Personally committed to the advancement of women at all levels of business, Betsy tells her story with humor and humility to inspire the women leaders of the future.

The Role of Government and Monetary Policy

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Challenges Facing Community Banks

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<p>Speaker Spotlight: Elizabeth Duke</p>

Speaker Spotlight: Elizabeth Duke

Former Governor of the Federal Reserve (2008-13) and the first female chairman of a top U.S. bank, ELIZABETH DUKE is a renowned former commercial banker, central banker and bank regulator who offers shrewd insight into the economy. Having got her start in retail banking and small business lending, Duke's practical understanding of the retail banking industry shaped the decisions of the Fed during the global financial crisis and recovery, as she became the Fed’s point person on housing, consumer and small business issues. As the first female chairman of a top U.S. bank, Duke drew on her regulatory experience, her understanding of the financial system, the importance of safety and soundness, and risk management to help Wells Fargo navigate changes in the competitive and economic environment for financial services while working to rectify company specific regulatory issues. Audiences appreciate that Duke has walked down both Wall Street and Main Street, and her speeches highlight how governments can catalyze growth, protect investment and free access to capital for America's businesses. Her engagements always garner rave reviews, such as: "Feedback was very positive. Attendees really enjoyed Betsy’s insight and the conversational format — lots of really great questions and she was cool and candid, and was a delight." (Eagen, Inc.)

Watch some of Elizabeth Duke's talks here >>

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Biography

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. Betsy also served as Executive-in-Residence at Old Dominion University in 2014 and 2015.

Ms. Duke was, most recently, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wells Fargo & Company.