April 30 was the last day of service for Thomas Hoenig as vice chairman and a member of the board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Hoenig joined the board in April 2012 and served a full six-year term. Prior to that, he was the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a member of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1991-2011.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the public and be a part of the FDIC and its mission during these past six years,” Hoenig said in a statement.
FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg praised his departing colleague’s service. “Tom has been a forceful advocate for strong, independent financial regulation and has contributed enormously to the mission of the FDIC during his time as vice chairman. The FDIC was fortunate to benefit from his service,” he said in a statement.
In one of his final speeches serving on the FDIC, Hoenig addressed the effect of prudential standards and regulatory initiatives on big bank bailouts. In a March 28 speech delivered to the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., he discussed the idea of “finding the right balance” when it comes to the push-pull of regulation and deregulation versus prudential standard setting.
“After years of slow recovery, the U.S. economy is booming and the call for regulatory relief is loud,” he said. “This is the case despite changing monetary policy, increasingly volatile markets, increasing economic leverage, and changing risk profiles of some of our largest institutions.”
“As bank profits have grown, so has their appetite for risk and their dislike for regulations that constrain that appetite, he added. “They also are frustrated with rules that impose thousands of pages of administrative processes and unproductive costs onto their operations. The challenge is to eliminate those rules that impose a real administrative burden from those that set performance standards that allow properly gauged and priced risks onto the balance sheet.”
Hoenig also cautioned against “eroding the post-crisis capital standards that have contributed to the strength of U.S. banks” and their long-awaited recovery. Weakening these standards, he said, will undermine the long-term resilience of not only the banking system, but the broader economy as well.