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John Williams, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, has ringside seats to the U.S. central banks' extraordinary job this year: saving the nation's economy from calamity brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t think we’re anywhere near the limit to that,” Williams said Thursday during a virtual event hosted by Stony Brook University on Long Island. “The U.S. government is issuing a lot of debt right now, and global investors are gobbling it up.”
The New York Fed is the largest of the 12 district banks in terms of assets and is responsible for purchasing and selling outstanding U.S. Treasury securities.
It is widely viewed as the Fed's most influential position, because the leader always has a permanent vote on the central bank's rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee. Williams, 58, has led it since 2018.
Unlike the majority of his district bank colleagues, Williams has held another leadership role in the central bank's system: From 2011 to mid-2018, he served as president and CEO of the San Francisco Federal Reserve.
Williams joined the San Francisco Fed, the second-largest by assets, in 2002, working as an executive vice president and the director of research.
He's spent the bulk of his career at the U.S. central bank; he joined the Fed's board of governors in 1994 as an economist.
He received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.