Robert H. Smith School of Business finance faculty member Elinda F. Kiss recently took student groups to visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Federal Reserve buildings in Washington, D.C.
The trips consisted of University of Maryland undergraduate students enrolled in Kiss’s Banking and Private Wealth Management Fellows Program and Master of Science students from her Bank Management course.
Kiss noted that these trips gave the students an opportunity to interact with senior policy makers, as they met with Rich Brown, chief economist at the FDIC, and Janet Yellen, vice chair at the Federal Reserve, during the trips.
During the trip to the Federal Reserve, the students met Yellen in the boardroom where the Federal Open Market Committee meets, which meant one of the students was able to sit in Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s chair.
“Throughout the semester we had been learning about the role of the Federal Reserve in the regulation of banking institutions, as well as studying their balance sheet and monetary policy tools,” said Wendy Chen, a finance major who graduated in May. “I found Mrs. Yellen to be both an engaging and intelligent speaker who helped me see how some of the concepts we learned in class are applied to the FOMC meetings, such as setting the targeted federal funds rate and monitoring the balance sheet of the Fed.”
Chen’s comments about Yellen were echoed by Michelle Hill, a senior finance-accounting major, who also said she enjoyed getting an inside perspective of the Federal Reserve. “As an American, oftentimes I feel out of the loop with what the government and Federal Reserve Board of Governors are doing. It was a delight to get an inside perspective on the current issues. I now understand truly how hard it is to run the central bank. Many factors, some that most Americans do not consider at all, come to play when making banking decisions for our country.”
Pierce Kugler, a senior finance-accounting major, added: “Ms. Yellen discussed the current state of the economy and the Fed’s plans for improving the economy after the recession. She also gave us plenty of time to ask her questions regarding the Fed and her opinion regarding the crises in Europe. I enjoyed hearing an expert’s point of view on current financial topics, and the tools the Fed uses to manage the economy. “
In addition to Brown, the students on the FDIC trip met with Daniel Bean, an FDIC analyst, and an FDIC intern.
Brown gave a presentation to the students in which he discussed the financial crisis that began in 2007 and what the FDIC is doing to prevent future bank failures.
“The FDIC actually charges premiums to banks so that if they fail, the FDIC will have enough funds to cover the take over of the bank,” said Anastasia Adams, a senior finance-marketing major, who attended the FDIC trip. “Rich Brown also mentioned that the regulation and actions taken by the FDIC aim to prevent ‘too big to fail,’ which is also something discussed in Professor Kiss’s class. Through preventing too big to fail, the FDIC hopes to prevent another financial crisis.”
“I really liked how much of Rich Brown’s presentation actually related to the material we had been learning over the semester so we could actually comprehend the material aspects,” said Susan Ali, a senior finance-economics major.
Derek Zumstein, a finance major who graduated in May, said he enjoyed the opportunity to have lunch with Brown and ask additional questions.
“Overall, I liked the event, especially the time we got to ask Rich questions at lunch,” he said. “That smaller setting helped draw out some deeper questions than the Q&A period during Rich’s presentation.”
Ted McCauley, a finance major who graduated in May, summed up the experience: “The trip to the FDIC was a valuable insight into the inner workings of what fuels the decisions made in respect to our economy.”
Peter Haldis, MBA Candidate 2014