Trump se­lects Ran­dal Quar­les for key po­si­tion on Fed board

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Martin Crutsinger

WASHINGTON» Ran­dal Quar­les, who served in top Trea­sury De­part­ment po­si­tions un­der two Repub­li­can pres­i­dents, has been nom­i­nated by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to take a key po­si­tion on the Fed­eral Re­serve board in charge of over­see­ing the bank­ing sys­tem.

The se­lec­tion, an­nounced by the White House late Mon­day, marked Trump’s first ef­fort to re­shape the na­tion’s cen­tral bank, an in­sti­tu­tion he crit­i­cized dur­ing the cam­paign both for its low-in­ter­est rate poli­cies, which he said were help­ing Democrats, and its ac­tion to im­ple­ment the sweep­ing Dod­dFrank Act passed in re­sponse to the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Quar­les, 59, was picked to serve as the Fed’s vice chair­man for bank su­per­vi­sion. The po­si­tion gives him a key role in the administration’s ef­forts to loosen the bank­ing reg­u­la­tions im­posed by the Dod­dFrank leg­is­la­tion Con­gress passed in 2010. The Dodd-Frank mea­sure was aimed at crack­ing down on the risky bank prac­tices that con­trib­uted to the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Quar­les had been con­sid­ered a front-run­ner for the job for months. The brief an­nounce­ment gave no in­di­ca­tion of when the administration might fill the other two va­can­cies on the seven-mem­ber Fed board, all of which will re­quire Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

Quar­les was nom­i­nated for a va­cant Fed board term that ex­pires on Jan. 31 and for an ad­di­tional 14year term that would ex­pire on Jan. 31, 2032. He was also nom­i­nated for a four-term term as vice chair­man for su­per­vi­sion.

Quar­les cur­rently heads the Cyno­sure Group, a Salt Lake Ci­ty­based investment firm that he co­founded. Quar­les was pre­vi­ously a part­ner in the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest pri­vate eq­uity firms.

Dur­ing the cam­paign, Trump promised to “dis­man­tle” the Dod­dFrank law, which Repub­li­cans be­lieve has hurt eco­nomic growth by im­pos­ing bur­den­some reg­u­la­tions that are dis­cour­ag­ing banks from lend­ing.

If con­firmed by the Se­nate, Quar­les will be in a key po­si­tion to over­see any changes to bank­ing reg­u­la­tions. Quar­les is seen as a more moder­ate choice for the Fed post than some more ide­o­log­i­cal can­di­dates that the Trump administration had con­sid­ered.

While the post of vice chair­man for bank su­per­vi­sion was cre­ated by the Dodd-Frank law, it was never filled by the Obama administration. Daniel Tarullo, a Fed board mem­ber who stepped down in April, had es­sen­tially done the job. But he was never for­mally nom­i­nated by the Obama administration due to con­cerns he could not win Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion be­cause of op­po­si­tion from key Repub­li­can senators to his pro-reg­u­la­tory stance.

Quar­les served in key fi­nan­cial po­si­tions at Trea­sury dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tions of both Pres­i­dents Ge­orge H.W. Bush and his son Ge­orge W. Bush. Un­der the elder Bush, Quar­les was a top ad­viser to Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Ni­cholas Brady from 1990 to early 1993, work­ing on the team that de­vel­oped a re­sponse to the sav­ings and loan cri­sis that had hit in the 1980s.

Dur­ing his sec­ond stint at Trea­sury from 2001 to 2006, Quar­les held sev­eral po­si­tions, ul­ti­mately serv­ing as Trea­sury’s un­der­sec­re­tary for do­mes­tic finance. He was a key ad­viser to all three of Bush’s Trea­sury sec­re­taries, Paul O’Neil, John Snow and Henry Paul­son.

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