In a move that partially remakes the Federal Reserve — or at least its purview over regulations that affect the financial industry — President Donald Trump has nominated Randal Quarles to be the head of regulation governing big banks.
The bank regulator position, formally the vice chair of supervision, was created in 2010 but was never filled.
The Wall Street Journal reported news that the choice had been expected for months and was confirmed by an unnamed White House official. Randal Quarles, as a former Republican Treasury Department official and investment professional, has been seen as what might be a “friendly” presence interacting with financial firms.
Quarles would have to be confirmed by the Senate, but upon that confirmation might be tasked with putting into effect some of the rollbacks of financial reforms codified into law in the wake of Dodd-Frank.
In addition, stated the Journal, the head of that banking supervision department would have some input into monetary policy, with a place among the seven members of the institution’s board of governors, which has as of now only four of those roles filled. Quarles has in the past been on record as criticizing interest rate policy that has kept rates nominally near zero.
As for banking regulations, Quarles has written in the Journal that, among other things, he was not an advocate of “arbitrarily taking an ax to big banks and irreparably damaging the economy” and that “the consequence of a dramatic increase in bank capital is an increase in the cost of bank credit.”
And yet, said the Journal, should Quarles come on board as a bank regulator at the Fed via Donald Trump’s appointment, the signs would be there for more incremental changes at the institution, with changes having to pass muster across the Board itself and several staffers who could have input on policy, too.