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White House Said to Consider Community Bankers for Fed’s Board

The White House is considering two community bankers to fill an open seat on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, according to two people with knowledge of the process.

The potential nominees are Rebeca Romero Rainey, chairman and chief executive officer of Centinel Bank of Taos, New Mexico; and Ann Marie Mehlum, the former CEO of Summit Bank in Eugene, Oregon, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because nominations haven’t been announced.

Rainey serves on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Advisory Committee on Community Banking. Mehlum is the Small Business Administration’s associate administrator for the Office of Capital Access.

White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage declined to comment. Fred Baldassaro, a spokesman for Small Business Administration, referred questions to the White House. Rainey and Mehlum didn’t respond to emails seeking comment late yesterday.

Senators Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, called on the White House to nominate a community banker to fill an open seat on Fed board.

In recent years, at least one of the seven governors had experience as a community banker or supervisor. Elizabeth Duke, who had been a career community banker, stepped down from the board in August 2013.

“As the Federal Reserve moves forward with new regulations, it is vital for there to be a voice on the Board of governors with first-hand knowledge of the community banking experience,” Warner and Toomey said in a March 31 letter to President Barack Obama.

Heitkamp Letter

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, is also circulating a letter among members urging a community banking choice. The potential nominations were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein announced on April 3 that he will leave the central bank on May 28. Stein’s exit leaves the Board with just three of seven governor positions filled: Chair Janet Yellen, Daniel Tarullo, and Jerome Powell. Powell is awaiting confirmation for a second term by the Senate.

Two other nominees to the board are also awaiting confirmation: Lael Brainard, a former U.S. Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, and former Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who would serve as vice chairman.

The Senate Banking Committee has yet to vote on the nominees.

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