Six Degrees of Ludwig

It is becoming hard to find a former regulator not affiliated with the consulting enterprise started by former comptroller of the currency Eugene Ludwig, the former comptroller of the currency. His Promontory Financial Group hired Andrew C. "Skip" Hove, a former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. vice chairman who filled the chairman's seat on multiple occasions, last week as a senior advisor to Ludwig.

In an interview, Hove said he expects to advise the firm on a part-time basis about issues related to federal regulation.

"I suspect my role … will be focusing on regulatory issues, perhaps in the U.S. and possibly internationally," he said. "My background was a community banker before I was with the FDIC, so I have some knowledge of community banking, as well as larger banks. My role can be clearly with community banks and very possibly with larger perhaps international banks too."

After running Minden Exchange Bank and Trust Co. in Minden, Neb., Hove was the FDIC's vice chairman from 1990 to 2001. He had three stints in the 1990s as the agency's acting chairman.

Since leaving the FDIC, Hove has taught a banking course at the University of Nebraska. He also is a board member at Great Western Bank in Sioux Falls, S.D., the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka and Neighborworks Lincoln in Nebraska.

Bernanke Watch

Will he or won't he? The jury is still out on whether President Obama will reappoint Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke to another term leading the central bank.

But participants in an online poll at are making their bet and 78% say the Fed chief will remain on Constitution Avenue. San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen receives 20% of the vote and Lawrence Summers garners 10%.

It is unclear, however, whether the vote should be taken all that seriously.

The same Web site also tracks important questions like whether entertainers Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor will die before Jan. 1.

In case you're interested, only 4% of the participants are anticipating Taylor's death, while just 2% say a Gabor passing is in the offing.

Out on the Street

The financial crisis has been rough on just about everyone, as an exclusive (i.e. fictional) report in the satirical newspaper The Onion last week illustrated.

The story is headlined, "Congress Beginning to Suspect Senator Mark Warner Might Be Homeless." In it, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he first suspected that Warner, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, might be in trouble when he dropped by on Sunday to find the Virginia Democrat "asleep under a blanket of Washington Posts on the Senate floor."

"It never really crossed my mind before, but I think the poor guy might be homeless," Reid is quoted as saying. "It would explain why he's always asking the other lawmakers if they're going to finish their lunch."

The story said Warner had signed up to be placed only on Senate subcommittees that serve complimentary breakfast and coffee during meetings; voted in favor of more comfortable benches in public parks; and added several riders to bills calling for "universal access to soup."

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., said in the story that he believed Warner was homeless after he spotted the bleary-eyed lawmaker rummaging through a trash can on the National Mall.

When he approached Warner, the freshman senator claimed that he was just looking for "some health care reform bill" he had thrown away.

The story concluded: "Warner, who was unavailable for comment, is currently in a Bank of America ATM lobby, holding the door open for customers in an effort to raise campaign funds."

From FDIC to SEC

Eric J. Spitler, the FDIC's top lobbyist, is leaving to assume the same role at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Spitler was named Tuesday as the director of the SEC's office of legislative and intergovernmental affairs. He was also named as a counselor to SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro.

In 18 years at the FDIC, Spitler held several positions, including special assistant to the chairman, deputy director of the office of legislative affairs and legislative attorney.

Previously he was the legislative director to former Rep. Elizabeth J. Patterson, D-S.C.

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