What Do You Know about the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta?

What Do You Know about the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta?

An interview with Robin Ratliff and Susan Berthelot from the Public Affairs department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the presenters at the April 2016 IABC Atlanta speaker series.

By Uzo Amajor, Special to IABC Atlanta

Be honest. What do you actually know about the Federal Reserve (the Fed)? What do you know about what it is, what it isn’t, and how it works? What have you heard about it? How do you feel about it? It’s interesting how little people know about this complex yet important institution—the nation’s central bank.

At the April 26th IABC Atlanta luncheon, Robin Ratliff and Susan Berthelot from the Public Affairs department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta will help bring clarity to the work of the Fed and share their experiences as its key external and internal communicators.

Fed-Image1One aspect of communications that Robin and Susan manage is telling the story of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, by regularly clarifying “Fed vs. Fiction.” So, as you anticipate tomorrow’s luncheon, here are their top five (nonfiction) clarifications about the Fed:

  1. The Federal Reserve is audited. The Fed is transparent, and is audited routinely. The Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. and the 12 regional Reserve Banks are subject to both internal and external audits, including audits by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The Fed also reports regularly to Congress through hearings, reports and reviews. Audits are one way the Fed fosters safe and responsible banking practices.
  2. The Fed is accountable to the American people, not Wall Street. Reserve Banks are independently governed by regional boards of directors who are selected by banks within their communities and the Fed’s Board of Governors. Our directors provide a Main Street perspective, represent the economic diversity in their communities, and help inform economic policy. This structure underscores the political independence of the Fed, and its commitment to public interest.
  3. The Fed is an independent, nonpartisan organization. The Fed is an independent entity within government – subject to oversight through congressional hearings, reports, reviews and audits. Its structure enables the Fed’s monetary policy decisions to be free of short-term political pressures.
  4. Our nation’s currency and coin is issued, stored, distributed, and inspected by the Fed. The Federal Reserve distributes currency and coin to banks and ensures U.S. currency is genuine and fit for recirculation. But it does not print or mint money – that’s the work of the U.S. Treasury.
  5. The Fed works to ensure a stable and sound economy. The Fed manages the nation’s money supply to keep inflation low and help the economy grow, but it does not manage the nation’s fiscal policy. The fed also supervises financial institutions to help protect our nation’s financial system, and safeguards the integrity and efficiency of our payments systems.




RobinRatliff_smallRobin Ratliff is assistant vice president and public information officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She is responsible for the Bank’s external communications, including media and government relations, executive speeches, social media, and the external website. She also oversees the writing, editing, and communication consulting functions within Public Affairs and plays a leadership role in the Bank’s internal, executive and crisis communications.

Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed in 2012, Robin was assistant vice president and strategic communications officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. There, she administered business advisory councils and served as assistant corporate secretary. Robin has additional experience with the Federal Reserve System’s Retail Payments Office and also managed employee communications for National City Bank (now part of PNC).

In 2009, Robin was named Communicator of the Year by the Cleveland Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

Robin earned a bachelor’s degree in English and German from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, and has completed executive development courses at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and the Darden School, University of Virginia. She is the proud mom of two grown children, Geoffrey and Julia Byrne.


SusanBerthelot_smallSusan Bradbury Berthelot joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in 2013 as director of internal communications on the Public Affairs team. She and her team oversee internal, executive, and digital communications for the Federal Reserve’s Sixth District.

Susan’s career before the Fed included 25 years in Atlanta in a variety of public affairs and communication management roles at organizations including AT&T/BellSouth, Cox Enterprises, and Aon Hewitt. She began her career as a photojournalist for daily newspapers, where she enjoyed covering sports events such as the Atlanta Hawks, Braves, and Falcons. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.

Susan proudly served on the Board of IABC/Atlanta from 2003-2005 and participated as an IABC member for many years in various capacities. She and her communications teams have received more than 40 IABC/Atlanta Golden, Silver and Bronze Flame Awards and one IABC International Gold Quill Award. Her favorite accomplishment in life is being the mom of Caitlin and James Bradbury.

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