WASHINGTON The Federal Reserve announced the formation of a federal advisory council to examine and advise the board on matters related to community and consumer affairs.
The board's announcement on Friday indicated that the 15 members of the new advisory panel would be selected from among "individuals with consumer- and community development-related expertise."
Members of the Community Advisory Council will then provide the Fed with "information, advice, and recommendations to the board on a wide range of relevant policy matters and emerging issues of interest," with a particular focus on financial service needs of low- and moderate-income populations.
The council will be the fourth advisory council formed by the Fed to advise the central bank and make policy recommendations.
The Fed said the CAC will meet "semiannually" with the board and members will be nominated by the public and serve staggered three-year terms.
The announcement comes as the Fed is increasingly under pressure to represent a more diverse array of viewpoints than those of high-profile banks. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle had been pressuring the White House to nominate a community banker to at least one of the two open seats on the board. President Obama did so when he nominated Allan Landon, formerly of the Bank of Hawaii, to the board on Jan. 6.
Public interest organizations and labor unions have also increasingly pressured the Fed to open up its internal processes to public scrutiny and focus more of its policy on improving conditions for low- and middle-income Americans. A coalition of 34 groups, including the AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute, Demos and the Center for Popular Democracy, met with Fed Chair Janet Yellen last November to argue for various policies aimed at improving wage growth and employment, among other policies.