President Clinton reportedly has signed off on two nominees for the Federal Reserve Board who are now going through background checks. While neither is a banker, one candidate is said to have banking experience.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the other candidate is Edward Gramlich, dean of the University of Michigan's public policy school and former chairman of the social security review commission.
A Gramlich nomination could run into trouble: No more than one person from any of the 12 reserve bank districts may serve at on the Fed board. Governor Susan M. Phillips already represents the Chicago region, which includes Michigan. There could be hope, however, because Mr. Gramlich has lived in the Richmond and Boston areas, both of which are open.
The openings on the Fed board were created early this year when Janet R. Yellen became chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers and Lawrence B. Lindsey returned to the private sector.
Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, the Republican who has represented New York since 1980, will face Rep. Charles E. Schumer in the 1998 election.
A recent poll shows Rep. Schumer, a high ranking Democrat on the House Banking Committee, beating Sen. D'Amato 43% to 36%, according to press reports Friday.
However, the Senate Banking Committee chairman has more money to spend on the campaign. Sen. D'Amato has raised $6.8 million compared to Rep. Schumer's $5 million, according to the Washington Post.
Ironically, both lawmakers are on the same side of a hot banking issue: ATM fees. Sen. D'Amato and Rep. Schumer are both pushing to forbid banks from imposing surcharges on noncustomers who use their machines.
Starting May 5, Wayne Rushton will head national bank supervision at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
As a senior deputy comptroller, Mr. Rushton will oversee the procedures and rules governing the agency's safety and soundness exams.
The 32-year OCC veteran had been the examiner in charge of SunTrust Banks Inc., Atlanta, since 1993. Mr. Rushton replaces Susan Krause, who went part-time in March, shifting to senior deputy comptroller for international affairs. Ms. Krause had held the top supervisory post since 1990.
Wondering what's up with the Clinton administration's recommendations for fixing the nation's financial laws?
Unfortunately, no one there is talking. Literally.
Treasury Under Secretary John D. Hawke Jr. canceled a speech Wednesday before the Exchequer Club, whose members include the industry's top representatives and consultants.
Richard S. Carnell, assistant secretary of the Treasury for financial institutions, backed out of a speech Friday to an American Bar Association gathering.
"They're hiding out," said one Washington wag.
In a sense, that's true. Both Mr. Hawke and Mr. Carnell are tired of being asked when the report will be ready and what's in it.
The famed report was supposed to be turned into Congress by March 31. Mr. Hawke denied last week that the report is stuck at the White House. "It hasn't come out because there are a lot of tough issues," he said. "We're just not ready yet."
Rep. Esteban Torres, D-Calif., last week became the House Banking Committee's 56th member.
This is Rep. Torres' second stint on the committee. First named to the panel in 1983, he served for nine years and rose to chairman of the consumer affairs and coinage subcommittee. He left in 1992 to take a spot on the Appropriations Committee.
A staunch liberal, Rep. Torres has often been at odds with the banking industry. He was a key sponsor of the 1991 Truth-in-Savings Act, which required banks to provide customers with uniform disclosures on interest rates, yields, and fees. He also worked for four years to strengthen the credit reporting protections for consumers. Many of the provisions he introduced were passed last year.
Rep. Torres got the spot because Republican leaders expanded the committee by two seats.
William W. Ginsberg has been named managing director of the Federal Housing Finance Board.
For the past year, Mr. Ginsberg was acting assistant secretary for market access and compliance at the International Trade Administration, a division of the Commerce Department.
From April 1995 until May 1996, he was chief of staff to Ronald Brown, the Commerce Secretary who died in a plane crash in Croatia last April.
Mr. Ginsberg replaces Rita I. Fair, who will become chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta on July 1.