WASHINGTON — Sandra Braunstein, the director of the Federal Reserve Board's division of consumer and community affairs, plans to retire on April 1, the agency announced Friday.

Braunstein spent nearly 27 years at the Fed, including ten years in her current post. She first joined the central bank in 1987, and in 1998 was appointed to the Fed board's official staff as an assistant director and community affairs officer. In 2003, Braunstein was named senior associate director of the division and a year later she was appointed to director.

"Sandy's visions, energy, and dedication served the board well during a particularly challenging period in its history," said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a press release. "She has demonstrated strong leadership in the development and implementation of policies and practices to promote community development, safeguard consumers, and ensure that financial institutions comply with federal consumer protection laws."

As director, she developed a new framework to regulate credit cards, and established new regulatory protections for consumers in the residential mortgage market using the Fed's authority under the Truth in Lending Act and Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act. She also managed the establishment of mortgage foreclosure mitigation and neighborhood stabilization programs.

Braunstein also played a critical role in the transition of division staff and resources to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created under the Dodd-Frank Act.

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