Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, will hold press conferences after each Federal Open Market Committee decision on monetary policy. This breaks with tradition as it has been the custom that the Fed Chairman remain silent with regard to monetary policy. This move is to improve transparency in FOMC monetary policy and help the Fed convey a more robust and unified message, which should improve the success of its policies.
“The introduction of regular press briefings is intended to further enhance the clarity and timeliness of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy communication,” the Fed said.
Already the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, and our own Reserve Bank of New Zealand hold press conferences after each statement. Previously Ben Bernanke has held press conferences when there have been major issues for the economy like that of 2008 and the financial crisis. Below is a timeline of frequency and type of communication between the Fed and the public (from the Wall Street Journal).
2004: The FOMC speeds up the release of its minutes: Now there is only a three-week lag, instead of waiting until after the next regularly scheduled meeting, which meant a lag of about six weeks.
2007: The FOMC decides to release its economic projections four times a year.
2011: The Fed announces that the chairman will hold four press briefing per year to present forecasts and provide additional details on policy decisions.
Here is part of a press conference at the National Press Club discussing the Dodd Frank Act. The purpose of the Act is:
To promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end “too big to fail”, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.