WASHINGTON – The Clearing House has picked Federal Reserve economists William R. Nelson and Francisco Covas to lead its research arm.

The two veteran economists will write empirical studies and regulatory analyses and make other contributions to ongoing public policy debates. Their hiring "sets us up to be an extremely credible source of industry research," Greg Baer, president of The Clearing House Association, said in an interview Tuesday.

The Clearing House is a banking association and payments company that is owned by the largest commercial banks. Its association affiliate conducts research, advocacy and litigation on behalf of its member banks.

Nelson was the deputy director of the Fed's division of monetary affairs and had been its first chief of monetary and financial stability; he worked nearly 25 years at the central bank. He will become the Clearing House's head of research and chief economist on March 7. He will replace Sujit 'Bob' Chakravorti, who stepped down last month to live with his family in Chicago.

Covas, who also served in the Fed's monetary affairs department as assistant director, joined the Clearing House last month as deputy head of research.

The move highlights the Fed's dominance in shaping regulation that affects large banks.

"The rules on capital and liquidity are the biggest needle-movers for a lot of our members," Baer said. "This clearly signifies our intention to really double down in this area and try to be more impactful -- not only with the U.S. regulators, but also with the Basel Committee and the [Financial Stability Board]."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.