Yellen: Fed Working to Tailor Bank Regulation and Supervision to Bank Size

By Harriet TorryFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

ST. LOUIS -- Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen voiced support for making sure regulations aren't unduly burdensome for banks, in comments that come as the race heats up for the nomination of the next Fed chief.

"The Fed has been working hard to ensure that its regulation and supervision of banks are tailored appropriately to the size, complexity and role different institutions play in the financial system," she said Wednesday.

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Her comments largely echoed her previous remarks that the Fed is open to reducing some of the regulatory burden on banks, particularly smaller ones. She spoke Wednesday as uncertainty swirls over who will take the helm of the Fed when Ms. Yellen's term expires in early February.

Ms. Yellen didn't comment on her plans in her prepared remarks to a community banking conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Nor did she comment on the path of monetary policy or the economic outlook.

However, she called attention to recent steps by the Fed to cut red tape by simplifying several regulatory requirements.

"For community banks, which by and large avoided the risky business practices that contributed to the financial crisis, we have been focused on making sure that much-needed improvements to regulation and supervision since the crisis are appropriate and not unduly burdensome," she told the conference.

The Trump administration is spearheading an effort to roll back some of the financial regulation adopted after the crisis. Ms. Yellen has defended many of those measures, but her remarks serve as a reminder that she has expressed openness to adjusting some.

Ms. Yellen last week cast a key vote in favor of releasing American International Group Inc. from tighter oversight. She said in a statement Monday that "since the financial crisis, AIG has largely sold off or wound down its capital markets businesses, and has become a smaller firm that poses less of a threat to financial stability."

The Financial Stability Oversight Council of senior financial regulators released the insurer -- which received a financial-crisis bailout of more than $180 billion -- from its designation as a "systemically important financial institution" in a divided vote last week.

President Donald Trump has said he would announce his pick for the next leader of the Federal Reserve in the next few weeks.

While he could renominate Ms. Yellen to a second four-year term, current Fed governor Jerome Powell, former governor Kevin Warsh and others are also in the running for the job.

Write to Harriet Torry at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 04, 2017 15:30 ET (19:30 GMT)