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Bernanke May Get Second Term at Fed Shorn of Bank Supervision

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Scott Lanman and Craig Torres
Friday, Dec 4th, 2009

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke left a Senate confirmation hearing with support for a second term heading a central bank that may be shorn of its powers to supervise financial firms.

Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd of Connecticut backed Bernanke yesterday and said he’s likely to be confirmed by the full Senate. Dodd credited Bernanke with preventing a financial meltdown, even though the Fed’s oversight of banks leading up to the crisis was an “abysmal failure.”

Bernanke told the committee that the Fed’s ability to maintain a stable financial system and conduct monetary policy is “critically dependent” on its supervision powers. He got no assurances that the Fed’s authority would remain intact as Congress considers an overhaul of financial regulations in a bid to prevent a repeat of the worst crisis since the 1930s.

“The Fed chairman will have won the battle but lost the war if Congress strips the Fed of its authority to regulate banks,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York.

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This article was posted: Friday, December 4, 2009 at 11:07 am

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