Confirmation hearing for FDIC chair, Fed Board nominees still scheduled

Despite uncertainty over a government shutdown, a confirmation hearing remains scheduled Tuesday for Jelena McWilliams and Marvin Goodfriend, nominees for (respectively) the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Board and member of the Federal Reserve Board.

According to the Senate Banking Committee’s website, there is no change to the schedule, which sets the hearing for 10 a.m. Tuesday. In addition to McWilliams and Goodfriend, the committee is also scheduled to consider the nomination of Thomas E. Workman to be a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). If confirmed, Workman would occupy the seat set aside for a representative of the insurance industry.

McWilliams was nominated as FDIC Board Chairman Dec. 1 by President Donald Trump. If confirmed, she would succeed Martin J. Gruenberg, whose term as chairman expired in December. Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA), Gruenberg can continue to serve as chairman until a 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.

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, Calif., and Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells LLP) in Washington, D.C.

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 as a visiting economist at the Federal Reserve Board. He has also served as senior staff economist for President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors. He was nominated to the post by Trump Nov. 29.

If confirmed, Goodfriend would fill one of the four open seats on the board (one of which is reserved for a vice chairman nominee).

Calendar – Confirmation hearing: Senate Banking Committee (McWilliams, Goodfriend)