Updated Nov 16, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on expanding economic opportunity

On Wednesday, November 16th, Axios markets reporter Courtenay Brown and Axios Today host Niala Boodhoo led conversations examining the path forward for closing economic equity gaps and expanding economic opportunity in the U.S.. Guests included Council of Economic Advisers Member Jared Bernstein, 1863 Ventures Founder & Managing Partner Melissa Bradley and National Bankers Association President & CEO Nicole A. Elam

Jared Bernstein discussed high inflation rates and the possibility of a recession in 2023.

  • On addressing inflation: “Working to ease inflationary pressures is the President’s top domestic priority…I really hesitate to talk about [inflation] peaks…I think there's just too much uncertainty in this climate. But…the trend is our friend and it's not just a monthly blip. We've seen a number of months of these improvements.”
  • On whether the U.S. economy could avoid a recession: “The answer to that question is yes..there is a pathway to…steady, stable growth.”

Nicole A. Elam discussed the state of minority owned banks and financial institutions in the U.S.

  • On the importance of minority owned and operated banks: “Minority owned and operated banks matter because they're key to helping close the racial wealth gap. It's really hard to build wealth if you don't have access to financial services. It's how we save for the future, buy a house, build a business. And these banks have a well-established track record of saying yes when others are saying no…These are banks that were born out of racism because Black, brown and immigrant communities could not go to mainstream financial institutions for their banking services.”
  • On the decline of minority owned banks in the U.S.: “There is a downward decline…at the peak there were 134 Black banks, today there are only 19…one of the biggest reasons is access to capital. These banks have been historically undercapitalized.”

Melissa Bradley talked about the challenges and opportunities facing Black and brown business owners during this volatile economic time.

  • On the biggest challenges facing Black and brown small businesses: “There’s three major concerns we are seeing…one is that access to cash flow, access to capital is always an issue. But with persistent supply chain challenges, the need to ramp up and really be competitive in the online space, that's a big issue…The second thing is they are no less impacted by human capital. So very expensive staffing is leading to reduced margins, which is always an issue as well. And I think the third piece is just managing the stress, you know, the uncertainty. I think there's a huge emotional barrier that women and entrepreneurs of color carry in terms of pressure and what are you going to do and stress and access to capital that this is just exacerbated during the season…”
  • On the unique experiences of Black and brown entrepreneurs: “Black entrepreneurs spend at least a quarter of a million dollars more to start the same exact business as their white peers…50 percent of all businesses fail within five years in the United States. Black businesses survive at least 8.9 years. However, the challenge is that does not correlate with revenue growth nor does it correlate with increased access to capital.”

In the View from the Top segment, Bank of America ESG Capital Deployment Managing Director Dan Letendre made his predictions for the macroeconomic environment in 2023.

  • “The preponderance of data clearly shows a slowing economically, whether you look at economic growth, employment, consumer spending. The strongest numbers– they are all in the rearview mirror. Look forward, there’s a slowing. Combine that with the highest interest rates we’ve seen in 15 years and you go into 2023 with a significant break.”

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

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