Greenlining Institute, a nonprofit research and policy group that advocates for racial and economic justice in the U.S., has joined a chorus of liberal voices calling for the appointment of Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve Board.

In an open letter to President Obama released Wednesday, Greenlining threw its support behind current Fed vice chair Yellen.

Yellen "has demonstrated that she understands the importance of unlocking the economic potential of low-income communities and communities of color," executive director Orson Aguilar and economic equity director Sasha Werblin wrote.

The authors also expressed reservations about former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who is widely believed to be a leading candidate for the position. The letter cites remarks Summers made in a 2005 speech on diversity in the science and engineering workforce. In that speech, he compared the dearth of women in science to the fact that "white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association."

"Given Mr. Summers' history of supporting Wall Street deregulation and his apparent disregard for diversity," the letter states, "we feel his leadership would not provide our communities with the opportunities they need to help drive our national economy."

In supporting Yellen, Greenlining joins a group of 37 House Democrats, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren, and the editorial board of The New York Times, among others.

While Yellen and Summers are rumored to be the top contenders to succeed Ben Bernanke, other potential candidates remain in play. American Banker's Barbara Rehm speculated that former Fed vice chairman Roger Ferguson could be another potential successor to Bernanke earlier this month.

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