WASHINGTON Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that she has asked the White House to appoint a community banker to the central bank's board.
Appearing before the Senate Budget Committee, Yellen noted that the Fed recently lost two governors with community banking experience: Betsy Duke, a former Virginia banker, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former commissioner of banks for Maryland.
"They made huge contributions, and I would love to see a replacement," Yellen said when asked if putting a community banker on the board was a good idea. "I certainly am in favor of that."
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked if she would "convey that sentiment to the White House," prompting Yellen to reply: "I've done so."
Lawmakers have been very vocal about the need for the Obama administration to nominate a community banker to the board, with members of both parties writing letters on the issue.
The Senate Banking Committee approved three nominees to the Fed board last month, but the White House still has one vacancy to fill.
Earlier in the hearing, Yellen reiterated that she was cognizant of the regulatory burden on community banks, and said the Fed is working to ease it.
"The community banks were not the source of the financial crisis, and my colleagues and I do not want to see them caught up in unnecessary regulatory burden," Yellen said. "There's no question they do feel that banking regulation has become more burdensome, but I pledge that I will continue to work with my colleagues to do all that we can to make sure that we reduce the burdens on these community banks and do not in any way have a one size fits all approach. I don't think that would be appropriate."
Rob Blackwell is the Washington Bureau Chief for American Banker.
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