WASHINGTON President-elect Bush announced Wednesday that he plans to name Lawrence B. Lindsey, a close adviser, as his economics chief.
Mr. Lindsey, 46, would serve as assistant to the President for economic policy, a new post. The former Federal Reserve Board governor and tax specialist served three years on the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan.
The President-elect made the announcement in Austin, Tex., after hosting an economics forum with bank executives and other business leaders. The appointment would not require Senate confirmation.
Industry officials praised the choice and predicted that Mr. Lindsey would promote bank-friendly policies.
I think that he will have positions generally favorable to competition in the financial services industry, and generally favor reducing regulatory burdens or eliminating restrictions on business activities of financial institutions, said Robert R. Davis, managing director of government relations for Americas Community Bankers.
Kenneth A. Guenther, executive vice president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said Mr. Lindsey was a key player in the landmark revision of the Community Reinvestment Act in 1995 that did reduce regulatory burden while ensuring that money continued to flow to underserved communities.
During the campaign, Mr. Lindsey said that President-elect Bush may review the privacy protections in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to toughen the opt-out rules requiring companies to get customer permission before sharing information. Mr. Lindsey also said that the Bush administration may be critical of the broader merchant banking powers that the law granted to financial holding companies.
However, Mr. Davis said he does not expect any dramatic changes to Gramm-Leach-Bliley under the new administration. There is going to be a broad-based sentiment to implement the law instead of nitpicking right away.
In addition to serving on the Fed, Mr. Lindsey was chairman of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. from 1993 until he left the Fed. He also served as special assistant for policy development under President George Bush.