The Virginia banker and former American Bankers Association chairman was nominated to the Federal Reserve Board in May of last year, and the Senate finally signed off on her nomination Friday. The fate of two other Fed nominees — Larry Klane, a Capital One Financial Corp. executive, and Gov. Randall Kroszner, whose term expired in January — remains unclear.
If the Senate had not acted, the Fed could have experienced something of a leadership crisis by the end of August, when Gov. Frederic Mishkin will step down, leaving the central bank with four governors.
"In confirming Elizabeth A. Duke for a term through 2012, we are ensuring the Fed can function during these difficult times," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a press release. "I am pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the president and Senate Republicans."
Ms. Duke will be the only banker on the board. She was most recently the chief operating officer of Towne Bank of Portsmouth, Va. She also has worked at Wachovia Corp. and SouthTrust Corp.
In a 2004 interview with American Banker, she said bankers need to become more aggressive in dealing with regulators and the government.
"On so many of our issues, the folks on the other side are really good at grass roots," she said. "So we've got to be really good at grass roots. Bankers are going to have to realize that in order to get their points across, they are going to have to make their points as aggressively as everybody else."
If the two other Fed nominations remain stalled, the next president could name new candidates in January.