Fed's Mester says inclusion important for achieving strong economy

FILE PHOTO: Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester poses during an interview on the sidelines of the American Economic Association’s annual meeting in San Diego, California, U.S., January 3, 2020. REUTERS/ Ann Saphir

(Reuters) - The U.S. economy will not recover fully unless actions are taken to make growth more inclusive, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said on Monday.

“Opportunity and inclusion are important for achieving a strong economy,” Mester said in remarks prepared for a webinar organized by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania.

“Unless actions are taken to promote an inclusive economy ... the U.S. economy will not be able to live up to its full potential and the country will suffer,” Mester said.

Policymakers can improve economic mobility by increasing access to high-quality education, helping all households gain access to high speed internet and eliminating systemic inequities in access to credit and financial services, Mester said.

The Fed announced last week that it is seeking to update the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure lower-income communities are still supported by banks while reflecting the ways technology has changed banking in recent years.

The central bank’s new approach to monetary policy, unveiled last month, also puts more emphasis on closing shortfalls in employment, including disparities between racial groups.

Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Nick Zieminski