Important for Fed to hear range of views: Fed's George

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Allowing diverse views to be heard within the Federal Reserve was a deliberate goal of its founders 100 years ago and remains vital today, a senior Fed official who has consistently voted against the majority wish of her colleagues said on Wednesday.

Esther George, president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, who made no mention of the current U.S. economy or monetary policy in remarks prepared for delivery at an event Wednesday evening, has dissented at every meeting this year over the central bank's ultra-easy monetary policy.

At an event in Oklahoma City to commemorate the memory of Senator Robert Owen, who co-authored legislation that created the Fed in 1913, George argued that the airing of diverse views respected the intent of the founders of the U.S. central bank.

"The Federal Reserve is not a monolithic organization, and such feedback - both from outside and inside the organization - ensures that the Fed remains accountable to the public it serves," she said.

President Barack Obama's nomination of Janet Yellen to replace Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term ends in January has raised questions about the extent to which Yellen will try to get officials to speak with one voice in the future.

Her statement at the October 9 White House ceremony included a reference to the merits of vigorously debating diverse views "and then to unite behind its response."

That remark might be interpreted as a call for some policymakers to temper their public comments, but George signaled that she plans to keep speaking her mind.

"It is important that the Federal Reserve's structure today still allows for a range of views to be considered when it deliberates actions that affect so many people," she said.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)

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