Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

William Taylor Remembered

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

William Taylor Remembered

Article excerpt

Among agency heads and other senior officials in Washington, there are few "yup-nopes"--people who give one-word answers to questions. But there are many masters of the art of saying little with a lot of words.

Former FDIC Chairman William Taylor wasn't either of these. He always had plenty to say--even when it wasn't what bankers wanted to hear-and what he had to say was straightforward; he didn't waffle. At the time of his death, FDIC was on the verge of wrestling with yet another premium increase, unpopular with much of the industry and yet very much part of Taylor's plan for returning FDIC's Bank Insurance Fund to health.

Taylor, who died at 53 on Aug. 20 of a heart attack, spent less than a year in his post. He was a product of the Federal Reserve Board, He liked to describe himself as a veteran examiner, though when he left the Fed for his FDIC post, he had long been head of bank supervision and regulation.

Indeed, when he took on the FDIC chairmanship, it meant taking a pay cut of about a third, but he said the examiner in him couldn't turn down the nomination. "How could you spend your whole life in bank supervision and then not take this job?" Taylor said in an early interview. "It would be a rejection of everything you've ever thought about."

An extended conversation with Taylor left one with the sense that this was a man who understood all the big financial issues, international and domestic, in depth. Yet he had a way of relating them to real-life issues that is unusual. His answers to questions often included examples drawn from his career, or detailed hypothetical examples devised off the top of his head.

Though not a technophobe, Taylor had a certain impatience with technology. …

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