White House Eyes Bobins, Swonk for Fed Seat

April 19, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Norman Bobins, president and chief executive of LaSalle Bank, and Diane Swonk, chief economist at Bank One Corp., are being considered for an open seat on the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, people familiar with the selection process said.

Advisers to President George W. Bush are focusing on the two Chicago-area bankers, both of whom have experience with national economic issues, an administration official and a person familiar with the Fed, according to Bloomberg.

White House officials have said they are hoping to nominate people with banking experience to the Fed vacancies.

Two Board Slots Open Since 1998

Two of the seven seats on the Fed Board are vacant, one since 1998. The Clinton administration failed to get the Senate to vote on its nomination for that vacancy. Bobins and Swonk are being considered for the same seat because Federal law requires geographic diversity on the board.

Bobins has worked closely with the central bank as a member of its Federal Advisory Council, a 12-member group that consults with the Board of Governors on all issues under the Fed’s jurisdiction.

Swonk is a past president of the National Association for Business Economics, a post once held by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Jerry Jordan.

Search May Generate Other Names

The search to fill the vacancy isn’t finished and other names may come up, a person familiar with the Fed said.

Another person mentioned is Terry Jorde, president and chief executive of the $35.6 million-asset CountryBank USA in Cando, N.D.

Of the seven Fed Board seats, two are vacant and one is held by Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson, whose term as governor expired Jan. 31, 2000. In March, Bush nominated him to a new term that expires in 2014.

Former President Bill Clinton had nominated Carol Parry, formerly an executive with Chase Manhattan Corp., to one of the two open seats.

The Senate never acted on her nomination, however. She would have succeeded Susan Phillips, who represented the Chicago district. Phillips’ term ended in 1998.