Banking

Powell loves his job. Biden must decide if he loves Powell.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says he has nothing but affection for his work, suggesting that the 68-year-old central banker could be open to a second term if asked.

“I love my job,” he said Wednesday in response to a question about whether being the world’s most powerful central banker was fun. “It’s a chance to do work that I think helps people. I have great colleagues, and the subject matter is endlessly interesting and important. I really do enjoy the work.”

President Biden will get to choose if he shares that yearning. Powell’s four-year stint at the helm ends in February 2022, though a decision probably isn’t imminent. Former President Donald Trump didn’t name Powell until November 2017 for a stint that started February the following year. Other Fed chiefs have been announced a few months earlier.

Jerome Powell.

Bloomberg News

Some on Wall Street took Powell’s comments as a meaningful hint.
Though Powell is a Republican, he was first put on the Fed by Barack Obama. Fed chairs in the past have also been re-appointed by presidents from the opposite party, though Trump broke that tradition by declining to give now-Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen a second term.

“Powell has fully invested himself in this job, and it is a great one,” said John Herrmann, director of U.S. rates strategy at MUFG Securities Americas. “He gets to divine monetary policy devoid of bitter partisan politics. What could be better than that?”

Nearly three-quarters of economists surveyed by Bloomberg last month said they expected Biden to offer Powell a second term.

The Fed chair’s slot is just one of four that Biden will be able to fill over the next two years. In addition to an open vacancy on the Fed’s seven-seat board, vice chair for supervision Randal Quarles’s term expires in October 2021 and the term of the other vice chair, Richard Clarida, runs through September 2022.


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