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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, January 7, 2015

Obama to nominate community banker Landon to Fed Board

By Katalina M. Bianco, J.D.

President Obama has announced his intention to nominate Allan R. Landon to serve as a Governor on the Federal Reserve Board. The President noted that Landon’s experience as a community banker would “serve our country well.”

“Allan Landon has the proven experience, judgment and deep knowledge of the financial system to serve at the Federal Reserve during this important time for our economy. He brings decades of leadership and expertise from various roles, particularly as a community banker,” Obama said.

Landon is a partner in Community BanCapital. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of Hawaii Corporation from 2004 to 2010. He served as the chief financial officer of First American Corp. and its subsidiary, First American National Bank, from 1998 to 2000.

Support for nomination. Several lawmakers have expressed their support for the nomination of Landon as Fed Governor. The legislators believe that there is a need for someone with community banking experience to join the Fed. Sen. David Vitter (R-La) has been promoting legislation to require a community banker or someone with community bank experience to be represented on the Fed.

“Fed membership has dramatically shifted away from community bank experience and toward academic and economist experience. Those of us fighting against bailouts and the too-big-to-fail megabanks’ special subsidies often get our voices drowned out by Wall Street,” Vitter said.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) stated, “The Federal Reserve must continue to promote policies that serve the needs of Main Street Americans. This nomination recognizes the important role that community banks play in our economy and in every community across the country.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Haw) also supports Landon serving as Fed Governor, noting that his community banking experience “makes him a solid choice” and praising Landon for his work at the Bank of Hawaii. Like Vitter and Brown, Hirono sees a strong need for someone with community banking experience to fill the Fed vacancy. “Our nation’s economic policy should be focused on growing strong local economies that support local businesses, middle class families and vibrant communities,” the lawmaker said.

Industry applauds announcement. Members of the banking industry support Lander as the Fed nominee for reasons that mirror those expressed by the lawmakers. The Independent Community Bankers of America said that “Landon’s experience as the CEO of a community bank and his broader sector experience will bring a much-needed community bank perspective to the board’s deliberations.” The ICBA further stated that community banks have critical banking and economic interests that come before the Fed and having someone with community banking experience in place would help ensure those interests are better understood.

The American Bankers Association concurs with the ICBA, stating that the ABA has long advocated for community bank representation at the Fed. Landon’s background and experience will fill that void.

Companies: American Bankers Association; Bank of Hawaii Corporation; Community BanCapital; Independent Community Bankers of America

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