Our hearts are with those who are ill and especially the people who have lost their lives and the families who grieve for them. The health-care workers who are on the frontlines battling this disease are nothing short of heroes. Their bravery and generosity inspire us all.
To reduce the spread of the virus, we as a country took a series of necessary but painful measures. States and cities issued stay-at-home orders to protect their residents, businesses closed, and millions of Americans became unemployed or furloughed. For many American families and businesses, the financial impact of the virus has been devastating.
Our nation’s response to this growing financial crisis is multifaceted. Congress enacted direct relief to Americans through the CARES Act. The Federal Reserve System has taken broad actions within our mandate from Congress to stabilize the economy, safeguard financial markets, and ensure that households and businesses have access to the credit they need. All of us at the Federal Reserve are focused on limiting economic stress as much as possible, so that the U.S. economy is well positioned to recover when the epidemic is contained. You can read more about the actions we have taken as a System on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors website.
One of the signature strengths of the Federal Reserve System is our close connection to the communities we serve. Here at the Philadelphia Fed, we are taking a number of actions to support the people of the Third District during this crisis.
We are working with banks in our District to ensure they have the funds they need to serve customers during this challenging time. We are also encouraging financial institutions to work with borrowers affected by COVID-19 and adjusting our supervisory activities appropriately.
We have always believed in engaging the people we serve and hearing their perspectives. It’s central to our mission and makes our work better and more impactful. That has never been more true than today. We are conducting regular outreach with community groups, bankers, and business leaders to understand how COVID-19 is affecting their organizations and stakeholders.
Our team of world-class economists is shedding light on the impact of COVID-19 on different sectors of our economy, analyzing consumer data, taking the real-time pulse of our District through the Weekly Business Outlook Survey, and much more. Their data and research will be published on this website as it becomes available, in keeping with our values of being open and transparent in our communications.
We are also helping to shape the conversation about COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on lower-income communities. The Philadelphia Fed recently sponsored Twitter chats on COVID-19’s implications for job equity and housing insecurity, partnering with other organizations to raise awareness of these important topics. We will continue to take creative approaches to convening others to discuss these critical issues.
From this message, I hope that you get a strong sense of the spirit of public service that informs our work. Our employees at the Bank are tremendously dedicated to our mission, and they have stepped up in numerous ways during this crisis while taking care of their own families. We are all a part of this community, and we are committed to doing our part to help address this unprecedented challenge.
Patrick T. Harker
President and CEO
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia