Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker told CNBC on Monday the looming departure of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had "nothing at all" to do with the central bank's decision to taper its stimulus program, and that the target federal fund rate could hit 2 percent by early 2015.
"I put early 2015 when I think the fund rates will lift off, but that's something that could change a lot one way or the other," Lacker said on "Squawk Box."
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Lacker told CNBC he submitted the third-highest federal fund rate forecast during the last FOMC meeting, but cautioned his prediction could change depending on circumstances. He also said Bernanke's impending exit from the Fed next month after eight years did not factor into the decision to taper the bond-buying program by $10 billion.
"He wants monetary policy to be done the right way," Lacker said. "This just seemed like the natural decision at this time, whether he's leaving next month or not."
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Market watchers should expect the Fed to use $10 billion per meeting as a baseline for future decreases in its stimulus programs, Lacker said, adding that any decision to pause tapering or scale down asset purchases by even more would depend on economic data.
"You have to consider the door open to us pausing if the data comes in a little weaker than we thought or accelerating if the data comes in stronger," Lacker said. "If you look back at the last three years, you see all these swings in employment growth. You don't want to overreact to the little swings because you just going to get them."
— By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen. Follow him on Twitter at @jmorganteen.