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Senate votes to confirm Randal Quarles as Fed board member

  • The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Randal Quarles as a member of the Federal Reserve board, filling one of several vacancies.
  • Quarles indicated during his confirmation hearing that he thinks it is time to scale back some of the financial regulations that were put in place after the financial crisis.

The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Randal Quarles as a member of the Federal Reserve board, bringing what is likely to be a softer regulatory touch to the U.S. central bank.

President Donald Trump nominated Quarles for the position in July after months of speculation that he had been in the running to take over a vacancy at the central bank. Quarles will take over as overseer of the U.S. banking system, filling the role Daniel Tarullo had before he resigned in April.

Though Tarullo unofficially had the title of the Fed's key bank regulator, Quarles will be the first to hold the title of vice chairman in charge of bank oversight. The position was created under the Dodd-Frank reforms that sought to make the banking system safer after it nearly collapsed during the financial crisis.

In a confirmation hearing in late July, Quarles indicated that he thinks it is time to scale back some of the financial regulations that were put in place after the financial crisis.

Quarles is founder and head of The Cynosure Group, a private investment firm, and previously was a partner at private equity firm The Carlyle Group. He also has served as undersecretary of the Treasury during President George W. Bush's administration.

He will be the second Carlyle alum to sit on the board; Fed Governor Jerome Powell was a partner at the firm. Quarles, who is Trump's first confirmed Fed nominee, won confirmation by a 65-32 vote.

Quarles comes to the Fed as the central bank begins unwinding its historic stimulus that started during the financial crisis. Under a plan unveiled through the summer and finalized in February, the Fed will begin allowing a capped level of proceeds run off its $4.5 trillion portfolio that is comprised mostly of bonds it acquired during three rounds of quantitative easing.

Even with the Quarles confirmation, the Fed will have three more openings on the seven-member board of governors, and could have a fourth next year if Chair Janet Yellen is not reappointed. Vice Chair Stanley Fischer earlier announced he is stepping down this month.

This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.

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