Michelle W Bowman: Building a more inclusive financial system through collaboration and action

Speech (pre-recorded video) by Ms Michelle W Bowman, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at the Aspen Institute, Washington DC, 5 December 2023.

Central bank speech  | 
13 December 2023

I would like to thank the Aspen Institute for inviting me to join you at this event to discuss efforts to develop a more inclusive financial system. It is really a pleasure to join so many stakeholders that are at the forefront of this important work. As I have often said, one of our important responsibilities is to foster an economy that works for everyone. Consumers are better positioned to benefit from economic growth when they have access to financial products and services that responsibly meet their needs.

My perspective on financial inclusion is informed, in no small part, from my own experience as a banker. Small banks, especially community banks, have a deep understanding of the local economies they serve, and can respond quickly and effectively to local needs. Indeed, financial inclusion is a core mission of community banks; but no entity or group of financial institutions alone can solve the challenge of creating a more inclusive financial system. Today, I will discuss my views on why financial inclusion is important to all of us-from community banks to central banks. I will then highlight activities in which the Federal Reserve participates to promote financial inclusion and conclude with ideas for future work and collaboration.

Why Financial Inclusion Is Important

An inclusive financial system offers access and choices that enhance consumers' and businesses' financial well-being. From checking and savings accounts to credit and insurance, consumers benefit from having financial products and services that are affordable, safe, and responsive to their needs. Without them, consumers may turn to alternative financial services, which can often be more costly or may lead to consumer harm.