Fed Vice Chair Nominee May Wield Heavy Hand

SarahRaskin’s background, credentials and experience reflect her policy bias toward heavier regulation of the financial sector.

The White House’s mid-January nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin, former deputy secretary of the US Treasury, for the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chair for Supervision of the Board of Governors removed any lingering doubt about the Biden administration’s desire to tighten the regulatory framework of the financial sector.

The Fed is charged with monitoring the country’s banking sector, and its vice chair oversees and sets rules that determine banks’ required capital levels and balance-sheet liquidity. Oversight of the burgeoning cryptocurrency market is also on the regulatory agenda. The post also will be responsible for preparing the financial sector for the impact of climate change on the industry.

Raskin most recently was a law professor at Duke University. At her Fed appointment, she was slated to become the faculty director of the law school’s Global Financial Markets Center. During the second Obama administration, she was the second-in-command to Secretary Jacob Lew at the Treasury Department, where she championed the defense of consumer safeguards in the financial marketplace, the cybersecurity safeguards of the financial sector and the stability of the financial infrastructure.

Before joining the Treasury Department, Raskin was a governor of the Federal Reserve Board and a member of the Federal Open Market Committee. She also spent from 2007-2010 as the state of Maryland’s commissioner of financial regulation. Earlier in her career, Raskin was an attorney and corporate general counsel, and served as a lawyer for the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Raskin’s background, credentials and experience reflect her policy bias toward heavier regulation of the financial sector. Her emphasis is in line with that of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

She will likely face a difficult confirmation process, however. A rancorous political environment on Capitol Hill, Republican resistance to the White House’s climate agenda and concerns by Republicans regarding potential regulatory overreach on the financial sector will all make Raskin’s path more challenging. The Senate expects to start hearings on her nomination in early February.