Big banks hope new Fed official will ease Dodd-Frank regs

by Ryan Smith06 Oct 2017
Big banks may have reason to breathe easier with the appointment of a new Fed official.

On Thursday, the Senate confirmed investment fund manager and former Treasury official Randal Quarles to serve a 14-year term on the Federal Reserve board. The Senate also approved Quarles to serve a four-year term as vice chairman of the Fed. In that role, Quarles will be the country’s top official in charge of bank supervision.

That could be good news for the financial services industry. Quarles, President Donald Trump’s first pick for the Fed, is widely considered to be friendlier to the industry than his predecessor, former Fed Governor Dan Tarullo, according to a MarketWatch report.

Mike Mayo, senior analyst for Wells Fargo, said he hoped that Quarles’ confirmation would usher in an era of more sensible regulation.

“I think this marks a transition from a period when regulation’s been very tough – and that followed a decade when regulation was too lax – and now we’re going to a period when regulation is between the two,” Mayo told CNBC. “The hope is that we have more ‘Goldilocks-type’ regulation. I define that as not sacrificing one iota of safety – but eliminating as much red tape as possible.”

Quarles’ confirmation did not sit well with everyone, however. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) considered the fund manager to be a tool of Wall Street. Warren said that Quarles’ motto seemed to be “whatever the big banks want, give it to them,” MarketWatch reported.

Industry observers predict that life will get easier under Quarles’ watch. He’s expected to roll back some Dodd-Frank regulations, and said during his confirmation hearing that he planned to make the Fed’s annual stress tests for banks more transparent.

The Fed’s number-two official, Stanley Fischer, is planning to step down next week, according to MarketWatch. His departure will leave three more seats to fill on the Fed’s board of governors. Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term will expire next year.

Related stories:
Yellen rejects Trump’s regulatory approach
Fed keeping an eye on banks for impact of Equifax breach

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