PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Federal Reserve’s decision to start raising U.S. interest rates this year was “extremely disappointing” because the hikes came so late, an outside banking executive said Thursday in a meeting with the South Dakota Banking Commission.
The signs point to a recession but how long it might last is unknown, said Ben Eskierka. He’s executive vice president and chief investment officer at Bloomington, Minnesota-based United Bankers’ Bank, which makes loans to community banks in the region.
The Federal Open Market Committee announced Wednesday that the overnight target rate for borrowing reserves would increase a half-point to between 4.25 and 4.5%. That followed four consecutive hikes of 0.75%.
Fighting inflation is the only thing on the Fed’s agenda right now, according to Eskierka. “They have no choice,” he said. His perspective: A recession will result that forces people out of work. “They’re intent on making everyone feel poor, so we stop spending money.”
A year ago, the Federal Reserve was calling inflation transitory and said it would fall back to 2% in 2022. Instead the consumer price index was up 7.1% November to November. “I ask you rhetorically, has there ever been a more wrong Federal Reserve?” Eskierka said.