Confirmation hearings set tentatively for FDIC leader, Fed board member

Hearings to consider the nominations of the leader of the federal deposit insurance agency and a member of the board of the nation’s central bank are tentatively set for Jan. 23.

The Senate Banking Committee is reportedly scheduling the hearings for Jelena McWilliams, to be chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Board, and Marvin Goodfriend as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

The top lawyer for First Third Bank of Cincinnati, and a former Senate Banking Committee staff member, McWilliams, 43, is now executive vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before that, she was chief counsel and deputy staff director for the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. She previously served as assistant chief counsel for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

Previously, she was an attorney at the Federal Reserve Board, and practiced corporate and securities law at Morrison & Foerster LLP in Palo Alto, California, and Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells LLP) in Washington, D.C.

McWilliams would succeed Martin Gruenberg once confirmed. Gruenberg’s five-year term as chairman officially expired Nov. 30. He has said he would stay on as chairman until his successor is confirmed by the Senate. Gruenberg’s six-year term as a member of the FDIC Board is slated to expire in December 2018; he has not indicated if he will stay on the board through the end of that term.

Goodfriend, 67, an economics professor at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie-Mellon University has been described as a critic of the central bank’s response to the 2008 financial crisis (including “quantitative easing” and purchases of mortgage-backed securities), and is a supporter of a “rules-based” monetary policy (i.e., open to greater scrutiny by Congress). He has past experience at the Fed, including in the Richmond bank and visiting economist at the Federal Reserve Board. He has also served as senior staff economist for President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Bio, background on Jelena McWiliams