Quarles recuses himself from Wells Fargo matters
WASHINGTON (AP) — Randal Quarles, who is vice chairman for supervision at the Federal Reserve, says he will recuse himself from participating in matters specific to Wells Fargo & Co.
The Fed announced the decision on Friday, saying Quarles wanted to “avoid even the potential appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Quarles noted that he had severed all financial ties he and his immediate family had with the bank, including selling off his stock in the banking giant. He said he was taking the step in light of the history his extended family members had with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo which involved the sale of their interest in a bank.
Quarles joined the Fed board in October after being nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the Fed’s key bank regulatory job.
Wells Fargo has been trying to move beyond problems in its consumer banking operations involving a scandal over millions of fake accounts and another over the bank’s auto insurance practices.
The Fed announcement said that Quarles’ recusal was voluntary and not legally required. While he will not participate in any Fed regulatory actions that specifically involve Wells Fargo, he will still be able to participate in the development of supervisory polices and rules that apply to the banking industry more generally.
Trump’s selection of Quarles was seen as a key first step in the administration’s efforts to scale back regulations put in place under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The legislation was passed to end abuses that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. But Trump during last year’s presidential campaign called Dodd-Frank a disaster which was hurting the economy by limiting the ability of banks to make loans.