There’s the fact that the Hispanic community in the country — more than 62 million — makes up at least 20% of the U.S.
The fact that Hispanics in the U.S. account for $2.8 trillion of Gross Domestic Product, which is higher than all but four other countries.
The fact that — despite these numbers — there has never been a Hispanic on the board of governors in the 109-year history of the Federal Reserve.
And then, there’s this: It’s an uncomfortable conversation about race the country supposedly is eager to embrace.
For all these reasons and more, the executive board of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey is joining with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and the 34 members of the Hispanic Caucus to call on President Joe Biden to select a Hispanic to fill the current opening on the Federal Reserve board.
The SHCCNJ stands in solidarity with elected officials on this timely and crucial call to action, led by Menendez, who has previously suggested reforms to improve the transparency of the Federal Reserve Bank president and director selection processes, the SHCCNJ board said in a statement.
The senator, it said, has been an ardent advocate of the business community in New Jersey, amplifying Latino voices on the federal level and addressing injustices, including the missed opportunities over the past two years to appoint a Latino to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve.
SHCCNJ President Carlos Medina said the Hispanic community has more than earned a spot.
“We proudly lead the way out of economic downturns with our entrepreneurial spirit, solid work ethic and ingenuity, continually finding solutions and creating opportunities, even in times of crisis,” he said. “So, it is unsurprising that our GDP moved from 8th to the fifth-largest in the world during the global pandemic.
“Yet, while our community is 62 million strong and continually producing measurable results, accounting for $2.8 trillion of GDP, the fact that only 5% of the Fed’s workforce identifies as Hispanic or Latino means we are not underrepresented, but essentially missing.”
As one of its primary functions, the Federal Reserve maintains the financial system’s stability and minimizes systemic risk arising in financial markets to ensure a healthy economy for U.S. households, communities and businesses, which the SHCCNJ underscores is aptly reflected in the Latino business community’s modus operandi.
The SHCCNJ board said it firmly appeals to Biden to lead by example, selecting from a pool of talented, qualified candidates representing 20% of the U.S. population, the largest and fastest-growing minority group that remains underrepresented, yet exemplifies the American Dream.
The impact would be huge, SHCCNJ Chairman Luis de la Hoz said.
About the Hispanic Chamber
The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey is the voice of the more than 120,000 Latino businesses contributing more than $20 billion to the New Jersey economy. The chamber’s mission remains to educate, train and advocate for its members in the political landscape and provide procurement opportunities for all its members.
“President Biden’s appointment of a Latino to the Federal Reserve’s board of governors will not only be historic, but will also serve to echo across C-suites and the boards of Fortune 1,000 companies, where we hold only 3% of member seats,” he said.
Moreover, Hispanic representation will ensure that the financially underserved community can have an equitable pathway toward access to capital for its businesses, the group said.
The board said Stanford’s 2021 report underscores the need — as only 20% of Latino-owned businesses obtained funding when applying for federal bank loans over $100,000, compared with 50% of their white-owned business peers.
“It is time to level the playing field by welcoming the community driving the highest economic growth even when presented with challenges — Latinos,” the group wrote.
The SHCCNJ strongly reiterates the plea stated in the letter from Latino lawmakers to Biden to nominate a highly qualified Latino candidate to fill the vacant position.
“The current leadership of the Federal Reserve System does not reflect the country that it serves, and failure to nominate a Latino to the board of governors in light of this new vacancy will only perpetuate this continued injustice,” they wrote.