The Senate is scheduled to forgo some of its upcoming August recess in part to clear the backlog of pending presidential nominations. One of those nominations should be an easy choice. Michelle “Miki” Bowman is the perfect fit for the Federal Reserve board of governors and should be swiftly confirmed by the Senate.

Miki Bowman is uniquely qualified for the board’s community banking seat — a position that has remained unfilled for nearly four years. Supported by community bankers and approved by the Senate Banking Committee on a bipartisan 18-7 vote, she boasts a unique understanding of community bank challenges and the role of regulators because of her multifaceted professional experience.

Bowman is a fifth-generation community banker who was unanimously approved as Kansas state bank commissioner by the state senate in January 2017. She previously served as vice president of Farmers & Drovers Bank in Council Grove, Kan., where she was involved in both lending and compliance. Bowman’s involvement in her family’s cattle and farm operation gives her a firsthand understanding of community banking, agriculture and the importance of both to our national economy.

Michelle Bowman, right, and Richard Clarita.
Bowman, who's worked as both a community banker and regulator, would be an important addition to the Fed's board of governors. Bloomberg News

But wait — there’s more. In Washington, Bowman has worked for former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. And for good measure, she holds a J.D. from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka and a bachelor of science from the University of Kansas.

Bowman’s experience is highly relevant to the Fed board in general and to the community banking seat in particular. Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee in May, she said her goal as state bank commissioner is to treat every consumer and institution fairly, respectfully and with open communication. What more can we ask of a regulator?

Further, Bowman would fill a long-vacant position on the Fed board designated for someone with experience as a community banker or community bank supervisor. Following vigilant community banking industry advocacy and months of debate on Capitol Hill, policymakers mandated the position in a law that was signed way back in January 2015. That’s far too long.

Federal Reserve policy affects many aspects of community banking and the broader financial system, and a full board is needed to ensure appropriate input and balanced deliberations. Including community banking expertise on the board will ensure that it considers and understands the impact of its policies on all communities as it implements provisions of the S. 2155 regulatory relief law, considers a proposal to ease capital requirements on the largest and riskiest financial institutions, advances payments reforms, and manages benchmark interest rates. Because community bankers can bring valuable on-the-ground expertise and perspective to the table, having a community banker on the Fed board is in the interest of the agency, the economy and the American people.

So as senators ascend Capitol Hill on those muggy August days in the nation’s capital, at least one nomination should be an easy decision. Miki Bowman’s vast experience should make her a shoo-in for a swift confirmation.

Rebeca Romero Rainey

Rebeca Romero Rainey

Rebeca Romero Rainey is president and CEO at the Independent Community Bankers of America.

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