Uncertainty in regulatory leadership strains financial overhauls

Marketplace Staff May 13, 2011
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Uncertainty in regulatory leadership strains financial overhauls

Marketplace Staff May 13, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: In about a month, Sheila Bair will leave her post as chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — the FDIC. But up to now, the Obama administration hasn’t tapped a replacement. There’re vacancies at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And those are just a couple of examples of how empty seats in the regulatory world could affect how reform is implemented.

Binyamin Applebaum is a reporter for the New York Times and joins us now to talk about it. Good morning.

BINYAMIN APPLEBAUM: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: How do these vacancies play into — I don’t know — how effective regulators can be in the financial sector?

APPLEBAUM: You know, the regulatories I talked to say that it’s really easy to keep on doing the same things. But if you don’t have permenant leadership, it’s a lot harder to do new things. Or to enact new ideas and that of course is exactly what we’re asking regulators to do right now.

CHIOTAKIS: You mean, new ideas such as Dodd-Frank and other laws being implemented?

APPLEBAUM: That’s right, yeah. Regulatory agencies are being asked to write hundreds of new rules. There’s really not precedent for it. It’s sort of the largest overhaul of the regulatory system in modern history and they’re doing it without permenant leadership.

CHIOTAKIS: What is it going to take Binyamin, to get these seats filled?

APPLEBAUM: You know, there’s not an easy answer to that question. Republicans say that they want to rewrite in some cases, the rules that govern these agencies before they’ll even consider confirming leaders for some of these vacancies.

CHIOTAKIS: Binyamin Applebaum with the New York Times joining us this morning. Binyamin thanks.

APPLEBAUM: My pleasure.

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