When Gene Pelham joined an advisory panel for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the appointment gave rural communities rare input into the financial world.
The Rogue Credit Union president and CEO began a three-year term on the Federal Reserve's Twelfth District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council this month. It's a seat typically filled by credit union leaders from more populous regions, such as Portland.
"They're generally looking for institutions with assets over $750 million," Pelham said. "The great thing is that Rogue Credit Union has become substantial enough to warrant a seat at this table."
The advisory council meets twice a year, submitting input to senior Federal Reserve Bank management on economic and banking conditions, regulatory policies, payment issues and lending conditions.
Pelham said his paperwork will include observations on market conditions spanning Rogue CU's territory from the southwestern Oregon Coast to the Klamath Basin.
"A lot of the institutions involved come from metropolitan areas," Pelham said. "Sometimes the kinds of areas we represent are taken for granted. In a sense, we become boots on the ground for communities not often represented in groups like this."
The first gathering for the advisory council, also representing Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, is Feb. 17 in San Francisco. The Twelfth District, which includes American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, encompasses the largest of the Fed's 12 geographical regions and accounts for one fifth of the nation’s population. In 2014, its 27.2 million workers earned more than 21 percent of the nation’s total personal income. The region also accounted for 21 percent of the nation’s exports of manufactured goods in 2014.