WASHINGTON -- The House Banking Committee chairman has sharply criticized the Federal Reserve Board, saying it has failed to place enough women and minorities in leadership positions.

"Clearly, the Federal Reserve should be a role model for the banking industry," said Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, D-Tex.

"This can only be achieved if more women and minorities, including persons drawn from the consumer and labor world, are hired for decision-making positions," he said.

Drawing a parallel to recent data showing evidence of discrimination in mortgage lending, Mr. Gonzalez said the Fed's employment profile "only serves to preserve an environment in the banking industry conducive to the type of lending bias that the Federal Reserve has found."

Joe Coyne, a Fed spokesman, said the board has been working to increase representation of women and minorities on its boards for years. "We would like to see more diversity, and so would Mr. Gonzalez," he said.

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