WASHINGTON — Despite the Fed's extraordinary efforts since the financial crisis, a full economic recovery is "still ongoing," Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said Monday.
In remarks prepared for delivery to a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Federal Reserve Act, Bernanke said "work on some of the Federal Reserve's most important challenges of the past few years — notably, achieving a full economic recovery from the crisis and putting in place a new financial regulatory system — is still ongoing."
Bernanke's remarks were prepared for both the opening and closing of the event which also featured remarks from former Fed chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, along with a ceremonial signing of a certificate commemorating the signing of the 1913 act by each of the current members of the Board of Governors and each Reserve Bank president.
Bernanke, whose term as chair expires Jan. 31, focused his remarks mostly on the Fed's response to the crisis and what the Fed should continue to do in way of best practices going forward.
"We have been able to respond nimbly to economic emergencies and make difficult choices in part because of our institutional structure — including long terms for members of the Board of Governors and diverse regional representation in our policymaking Committee — and because of the willingness of policymakers, past and present, to do whatever was needed in the longer-run interest of the economy," he said.
He gave some advice for those continuing at the Fed after he is gone. "As an institution, the Federal Reserve must continue to be willing to make tough decisions, based on objective, empirical analysis and without regard to political pressure," Bernanke said.
"We must continue to emphasize two other essential values — transparency and accountability," he told the centennial celebration, adding that the central bank "must welcome communication, broadly defined."
Bernanke said the ability of the Fed to support a healthy economy — "an economy with high levels of employment, low inflation, and a stable financial system — will require our continued efforts to engage in two-way communication — explaining our actions and, importantly, listening to what our fellow citizens have to say."
He also stressed that the Fed has been working to extrapolate the right lessons from the current crisis.
"The Fed has also worked to draw the appropriate lessons from the crisis and to take the steps necessary to help avoid a similar event in the future," he said.
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