WASHINGTON — Donald E. Powell was off to a rousing start Monday, a day before being sworn in as the 18th chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Sources said the former president and chairman of Texas’ First National Bank of Amarillo was spotted chatting with employees in the cafeteria, then meeting and greeting as he roamed the halls.

Sources described Mr. Powell as charismatic and “down to earth.” Staff members found some of his predecessors rather more distant.

By law, Mr. Powell had to sell his bank stock before taking office. An FDIC spokesman said Mr. Powell had sold all of his Bank of America Corp. stock — which his financial disclosure form valued at $5 million to $25 million.

Mr. Powell also had to sell his stock in Tejas Bancshares Inc., his bank’s holding company. That stake was valued at $1 million to $5 million, according to his financial disclosures dated May 16.

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