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Senate confirms Randal Quarles as Fed Board governor

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Senate confirms Randal Quarles as Fed Board governor

The U.S. Senate voted 65-32 on Oct. 5 to give former Treasury official Randal Quarles a seat at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where he is expected to tackle regulatory issues.

Quarles, the first board member nominated to the central bank by President Donald Trump, is technically awaiting another vote to become the Federal Reserve's first-ever vice chair of supervision, a position left vacant since it was created by the post-crisis Dodd-Frank regulatory bill. In that role, Quarles could help the Trump administration realize its goals of broad deregulation in a banking industry that has long called for rollbacks.

Throughout the confirmation process, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., criticized Quarles for failing to address concerns of a coming crisis while serving in the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Quarles has also worked at private equity shops and law firms where his work overlapped with the banking industry. He was also a board member of Xenith Bankshares Inc. after it merged with Hampton Roads Bankshares.

"Everything we know about Mr. Quarles says he will be fighting hard for the big banks," Warren said in a pre-vote Senate floor speech.

Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has praised Quarles for his deep experience in public service, describing him in the past as "highly qualified."

After a long-delayed nomination and confirmation process that began with rumors in April, Quarles will be the first new member to join the Fed Board since President Barack Obama nominated Lael Brainard in 2014. After Quarles joins the board and Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer retires from the central bank on or around Oct. 13, there will be three seats open for more possible appointments.

Trump has yet to announce any additional Fed nominations, although rumors are still swirling over whether or not he will try to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen, whose term as chair ends in February 2018. On Sept. 29, Trump said he would announce a nominee in the coming weeks.