Trade group officials and lawmakers praised Andrew M. Cuomo, tapped by President Clinton on Friday to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, for working with the private sector to expand lending to low-income areas.
"We've been working in that area with Mr. Cuomo and we expect he will continue in the same vein," said Robert R. Davis, director of government relations for America's Community Bankers.
Mr. Cuomo is currently HUD's assistant secretary for community planning and development. He is in charge of the administration's effort to launch community development banks, which use a mixture of private and federal funds for lending to low-income areas.
President Clinton on Friday also tapped Federal Reserve Board Governor Janet Yellen to head the Council of Economic Advisers and Aida Alvarez to run the Small Business Administration. Ms. Alvarez is director of the office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which oversees the Federal National Mortgage Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.
All three nominees must be confirmed by the Senate.
Bankers and key lawmakers hailed the choices.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato praised the HUD secretary nominee. "I've worked with Andrew Cuomo and he'll make a fine secretary. I intend to support his nomination," he said.
Roger L. Fitzsimonds, chairman and chief executive officer of Firstar Corp. in Milwaukee, lauded Ms. Yellen for her openness with industry during her term at the Fed.
"She's a great person in the sense that she's somebody you can visit with and she makes very complex issues understandable," he said.
President Clinton has been scrambling since the November election to fill a host of important cabinet positions.
At HUD, Mr. Cuomo is expected to continue to push for private sector investments in blighted urban areas.
"Andrew Cuomo has lived and breathed housing and economic development for more than a decade," President Clinton said at a news conference to announce the nominees.
The son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, he would replace Henry G. Cisneros.
Rep. John J. LaFalce, the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, called Mr. Cuomo an "inspired choice" for HUD secretary. "I know that he will continue Henry Cisneros' work at HUD as a true champion of those least fortunate among us."
Taking over the Council of Economic Advisers, Ms. Yellen will be the President's top confidant for guiding economic policy.
She was appointed to the Fed by President Clinton in August 1995. The former University of California at Berkeley professor is regarded as one of the central bank's most liberal governors. However, she has won praise from the industry as an inflation hawk.
"She is an esteemed writer and thinker who will serve our country well," President Clinton said.
Ms. Yellen would replace Joseph E. Stiglitz.
Kenneth Guenther, executive vice president for the Independent Bankers Association of America, expressed hope that the President would fill Ms. Yellen's Fed seat with a banker.
"It's a great opportunity for the Clinton administration to bring in someone with hands-on banking and small business experience," he said. Currently no bankers sit on the Fed board, which is the primary regulator of holding companies.
Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Christopher Bond said it's too early to predict whether Ms. Alvarez will be confirmed. "We will use the confirmation process to look into Ms. Alvarez' background to learn what experience and strengths she brings to this job."