In a rare public admission of frustration, Janet Yellen chided fellow Federal Reserve policy makers who breach the carefully nurtured collegiality of the bank by staking out policy positions before bothering to hearing the views of their colleagues.
In revealing remarks about the challenge of chairing a committee of up to 19 highly opinionated policy makers, Yellen told a European Central Bank-sponsored conference in Frankfurt that Fed rules clearly spell out that officials should avoid forecasting decisions and definitely not make commitments about their own votes.
“That type of statement is very negative for collegiality. We do believe we should be going into meetings prepared to listen to one another before making a policy decision,” she told a panel that included ECB President Mario Draghi, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and Mark Carney, who heads the Bank of England. “But I will admit that often, at least what’s reported, is that individuals are talking about having made up their minds about policy communication, about policy for a forthcoming meeting.”
Yellen’s burden will pass to Jerome Powell if he is confirmed by the Senate to take the helm of the U.S. central bank when her term as chair expires Feb. 3.