Outlook

Alumni Helping Steady the Economy

Monday, January 25, 2010

James Bullard ’84 told a packed Atwood Theatre audience Oct. 9 that financial institutions deemed “too big to fail” must be regulated to avoid financial crises.

Bullard was appointed president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in March 2008. Six months later the nation’s financial systems began to melt down.

His 35-minute presentation included, among other things, a plea for financial reform such as regulation of systemic risk, a mechanism for shutting down failing financial firms and systems for global cooperation.

“If you just let the large financial firms fail, as we learned last fall, panic ensues,” said Bullard. “These firms are not necessarily banks. One of the big issues in this financial crisis has been the rise of the shadow banking system, largely unregulated and much less regulated than your ordinary corner bank.”

Bullard, who serves on the Federal Reserve’s powerful Open Market Committee, suggested that the Federal Reserve is best suited to play a lead role in managing new financial regulatory systems. “Our reform efforts have to focus on getting this completely intolerable situation under control,” he said.

Bullard’s accomplishments as an economist and central banker were honored at the Oct. 9 Alumni Association Awards when he received the G.R. Herberger College of Business Leadership Award.

Bullard lives in the St. Louis area with his wife Jane Callahan ’83 who is the public policy director for Parents as Teachers National Center. The couple has two daughters. See related story on page 48.

- Story By Jeff Wood 81 87 95

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