Warren, Manchin Call for Wall Street Outsiders at Fed

By Heltman, John | American Banker, November 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Warren, Manchin Call for Wall Street Outsiders at Fed


Heltman, John, American Banker


Byline: John Heltman

WASHINGTON -- Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are asking President Obama to nominate Wall Street outsiders to a pair of vacancies on the central bank's board of governors.

In an op-ed penned this week, Warren and Manchin urged Obama to diversify the central bank's areas of expertise beyond the banking sector and academia. Instead, the President should nominate people with a reputation for principled supervision and dedication to policies that will positively affect ordinary Americans, they said.

"The five sitting governors have a variety of academic and industry experience, but not one came to the Fed with a meaningful background in overseeing or investigating big banks or any experience distinguishing between the greater risks posed by the biggest banks relative to community banks," the senators' op-ed said. "By nominating people who have a strong track record in these areas and who have a demonstrated commitment to not backing down when they find problems, the administration can show that it is taking the Fed's supervision problem seriously. Nominating Wall Street insiders for the Board of Governors would send the opposite message."

The Fed has had two vacancies since April, when former Gov. Jeremy Stein announced his resignation to return to his teaching position at Harvard University. Former Gov. Sarah Bloom Raskin also left after she was confirmed as Deputy Treasury Secretary in March.

The op-ed is the most recent merging of liberal and conservative interests in having more community banking and supervisory experience on the Fed board. Manchin is among the most conservative Democrats and represents a red-leaning state, while Warren is among the most liberal members of the upper chamber and hails from a safe Democratic stronghold.

In June a bipartisan group of 87 members of the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., and Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., also urged Obama to nominate governors with experience in community banking or bank supervision. A Senate bill was also introduced in April by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., David Vitter, R-La., Mark Kirk, R-Ill. and Mary Landrieu, D-La., that would mandate at least one of the two vacancies be filled by someone with community banking or supervisory experience. …

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