Raphael Bostic tapped to head Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank

WASHINGTON (AP) - Raphael W. Bostic, a former Obama administration housing official, has been selected as the new president of Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, becoming the first African-American to head one of the Fed's 12 regional banks.

The Atlanta Fed announced the selection Monday. It said that Bostic, 50, currently a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California, will take over in June. He succeeds Dennis Lockhart, who retired last month.

During the Obama administration, Bostic served from 2009 to 2012 as an assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Atlanta Fed covers Georgia, Alabama, Florida and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Fed Up, a coalition of community groups and labor unions that has been pushing for more diversity among Fed policymakers, hailed the selection of Bostic.

"He is an exceptionally well-qualified economist and public servant who has dedicated his career to studying and combating racial, economic and social inequality," Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed Up coalition, said in a statement.

Bostic, who received a doctorate in economics from Stanford, worked for the Federal Reserve board in Washington from 1995 to 2001 before leaving to become a professor at USC's School of Policy, Planning and Development. His research focused in the areas of home ownership, housing finance and neighborhood change.

As president of the Atlanta Fed, Bostic will participate in interest-rate decisions made by the Federal Open Market Committee, composed of the Fed's 12 regional presidents, who vote on a rotating basis, and the seven members of the Fed's board in Washington.

While no African-American had served as a regional Fed bank president, three African-Americans have served on the Fed's seven-member board in the Fed's 103-year history.