At ceremonial oath-taking, Powell pledges to preserve ‘gains in financial regulation’ following financial crisis

Saying that the Federal Reserve will remain alert to any developing risks to financial stability, the agency’s new board chairman said Tuesday that the central bank would preserve regulatory changes made in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Jerome H. “Jay” Powell said the Fed would “preserve the essential gains in financial regulation while seeking to ensure that our policies are as efficient as possible” during remarks following a formal swearing-in ceremony at Fed headquarters in Washington.

“In addition, the financial system is incomparably stronger and safer, with much higher capital and liquidity, better risk management, and other improvements,” he said.

Tuesday’s ceremony marked the second time in week that the new chairman has taken the oath of office. Powell officially took the oath of office as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Feb. 5; the action Tuesday was described as a “ceremonial swearing in” which included invited guests, such as members of his family. As for the Feb. 5 oath-taking, Fed Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles administered the oath of office Tuesday.

In prepared remarks Tuesday, Powell noted that, when he joined the board in 2012, unemployment was 8.2% and millions of Americans “were still suffering from the ravages” of the financial crisis. He said that actions by the Fed in monetary policy supported a “full recovery” in labor markets and a return to the Fed’s inflation target.

The new Fed chairman credited his predecessors at the helm of the central bank (Benjamin Bernanke and Janet Yellen) for the results. But he also credited the way “we carry out our responsibilities.”

“We explain our actions to the public. We listen to feedback and give serious consideration to the possibility that we might be getting something wrong. There is great value in having thoughtful, well-informed critics,” he said.

Remarks by Chairman Jerome H. Powell at the ceremonial swearing-in