New Louisville Federal Reserve chief hopes to focus on empowering businesses, economic education
The Louisville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has a new regional executive in charge of the bank’s operations in western Kentucky and southern Indiana.
Seema Sheth previously served as vice president and relationship strategist for PNC Private Bank in Louisville. In her new post as senior vice president and regional executive of the Fed’s Louisville branch, she’s responsible for supervising banks, participating in community development efforts and providing economic education to the region.
The bank’s Louisville zone, in addition to its flagship city, includes Frankfort, Bowling Green, and Evansville, IN. Sheth said her first few weeks on the job have involved getting to know the communities and leaders in the region. She said she serves as a connecting point between area businesses and Federal Reserve leaders, helping economic decision makers to understand the impact of policy choices.
“I’m tasked with being the on-the-ground person that knows best this zone, and my role is to make sure that there is a healthy interchange of information between the Federal Reserve system and those communities and economies, and back from those economies to the Federal Reserve,” Sheth said.
Sheth recently visited Bowling Green to tour tornado damage and meet local business leaders. She said Bowling Green’s growth should serve as a model for other mid-sized cities in the nation’s heartland.
“I was able to meet with the Chamber in Bowling Green and see how booming your economy really is,” Sheth said. “The number of new entrants into your space, the number of large, multinational organizations that are choosing Bowling Green as their manufacturing hub.”
The economic growth in Bowling Green is part of the entire region’s recovery from the pandemic, Sheth said. She added communities in western Kentucky and southern Indiana are showing signs of a return to pre-COVID energy.
The Fed’s Louisville branch is also charged with promoting economic education to the service region. Sheth said this is one facet of the job she is particularly excited to tackle. She said financial literacy is typically pushed into business classes, but she’d rather see it as part of the social studies curriculum.
“One thing we’re working to do is to make sure that social studies teachers and history teachers, even if the mathematics part of economics doesn’t feel like it’s an easy pairing for them, we can empower them to learn and understand how economic decision making can be pulled out of mathematical terms and put into applicable models,” Sheth explained.
The Louisville branch is piloting a project with Jefferson County Public Schools to embed lessons on the economy and banking within the district’s history and civics classes. Sheth said the Fed is developing the modules with a digital audience in mind given the prevalence of online instruction in the wake of the pandemic.
“We’re working through some modules and lesson plans in JCPS and as we continue to work out that system hopefully we can bring it to the rest of the footprint,” Sheth said. “Some of the cool resources that the Fed has put some serious time into is making sure that our programming can interface with those tools that students are using digitally now.”
Sheth said she’s receiving positive feedback from the pilot program and hopes to expand the effort throughout the commonwealth during her tenure.