New Faces Likely to Shift Dynamic at FDIC Board

By Joe Adler

As Thomas Hoenig and Jeremiah Norton step into their new Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. roles on Monday, the dynamic for the agency’s board could significantly shift.  For years, the three internal directors at the agency — then chairman Sheila Bair, Vice Chairman Martin Gruenberg and independent member Thomas Curry — have been largely united, even when board members from the two outside agencies have disagreed.  But with Bair gone, Gruenberg running the agency and Curry now at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — and two new Republicans sitting on the board — observers are waiting to see how the board’s working relationship will change.  “Counting the D’s and the R’s is not a way to answer questions about the direction of financial policy,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics Inc. “Often, in fact, what’s striking about regulatory policy is the hands-across-the sea agreement between left wing Democrats and right wing Republicans in their populist fervor to restructure big banks. It may be the only thing on which they can agree. On the other side of the debate centrist Democrats and centrist Republicans agree more. They’re a bit more ‘Wall Street.'”