Barr Confirmed for Fed Vice Chair of Supervision
On Wednesday, The U.S. Senate confirmed Michael Barr to serve as Vice Chair of Supervision at the Federal Reserve (Fed), where many expect that he will crack down on big banks while being open to new fintechs playing a role in the financial services industry. With Barr’s confirmation, the Fed has a full board of seven members for the first time since 2013.
“Today’s confirmation of Michael Barr as Vice Chair for Supervision of the Federal Reserve is important progress for my plan to tackle inflation and for sound oversight as we transition to steady and stable growth,” Biden said in a statement.
Barr will have a vote on interest rates while the Fed grapples with increasing inflation. He will be responsible for overseeing the regulation of the nation’s largest banks, including the stress tests conducted under the Dodd-Frank Act for banks that are considered “too big to fail.” Politico noted that he will also help determine what role lenders should play in the market for cryptocurrencies.
Before the formal confirmation vote, Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), urged other senators to support Barr’s nomination, noting that five of the Committee’s Republicans, including Ranking Member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), supported Barr’s nomination in addition to all 12 Democrats.
“Mr. Barr has dedicated over 25 years of his career working to make our financial system safer and fairer,” Brown said. “He has focused on developing and evaluating financial regulatory policies, and most importantly, he has a keen understanding of the type of risks that pose threats to our financial stability.”
In a statement congratulating Barr on his confirmation, Toomey highlighted Barr’s “prior government service and distinguished career focused on financial services and regulation.”
“While I disagree with Professor Barr on a number of policy issues, he has pledged to fight the record high inflation that’s hurting American families,” Toomey said.
Barr served as a dean of public policy and law professor at the University of Michigan, and was an assistant Treasury secretary during the Obama administration, where he was instrumental in forming the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.
Biden initially nominated former Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin for the role, but she withdrew after strong opposition from Senate Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).