Phillips to Banks: Show Leadership; Fed Freshmen Urges Initiative in Lending to Poor

By Phillips, Susan | American Banker, June 8, 1992 | Go to article overview

Phillips to Banks: Show Leadership; Fed Freshmen Urges Initiative in Lending to Poor


Phillips, Susan, American Banker


Fed Freshman Urges Initiative in Lending to Poor

susan Phillips has been a professor, an economist, and a commodities regulator. But until last December, when she became a member of the Federal Reserve Board, she hadn't spent much time on bank regulatory issues.

Six months at the Fed have changed that. Last week, Ms. Phillips gave her perspective on key banking issues to American Banker reporter Debra Cope.

American Banker: Congress has been giving bank regulators very specific guidance for making rules. What does that mean for the Fed, and for banks?

Susan Phillips: The more specific the laws is, the less flexibility we have in making judgments. It makes the job a little more difficult for us.

It also doesn't allow us to quickly recognize changes in the industry or changes in the markets. It means we can't respond quite as quickly to technological developments sometimes.

But I don't think it takes away from the Fed's authority.

AB: Will higher capital get Congress to ease up?

SP: That's certainly one factor, but capital is not a panacea. Once the Bank Insurance Fund is stabilized and once we get to stronger risk-based capital levels so that the industry is strengthened, I think that will reduce some of the concern.

But I think a good bit of it is a question of demonstrating what type of job bankers are doing - in community investment, for instance

AB: Bankers got a jolt last year when the Fed found widespread discrimination in mortgage lending. …

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