Reserve banking

Michael Barr approved to be the Federal Reserve’s banking regulator

All seven Fed board seats are now filled, for the first time in about a decade, as the central bank tackles the worst inflation in 40 years.

WASHINGTON — The Senate easily endorsed Michael Barr as the Federal Reserve’s chief banking regulator in a bipartisan vote on Wednesday.

Barr, a former top Treasury official under President Barack Obama, is the latest of President Joe Biden’s three nominees for the Fed Board of Governors to win Senate confirmation. All seven Fed board seats are now filled, for the first time in about a decade, as the central bank tackles the worst inflation in 40 years.

The Senate voted 66 to 28 to endorse Barr as vice president for oversight, the government’s chief financial regulator.

As a Treasury official, Barr helped craft the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Regulations after the devastating 2008 financial crisis. He most recently served as Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

During a Senate hearing, Barr pledged support for the Fed’s efforts to reduce inflation and said he would promote “clear rules” to govern financial innovation.

He also said during the hearing that Congress and financial agencies should regulate stablecoins, a form of cryptocurrency that is often pegged to the dollar, to protect consumers from steep drops in value, which can happen if the stablecoins do not have enough assets to back up their dollar pegs.

Accelerating inflation is also a thorny issue for the Federal Reserve. The Fed is already engaged in the fastest round of interest rate hikes in three decades, which it hopes will calm inflation by curbing consumer and business borrowing and spending.

The central bank is expected to raise its key short-term rate later this month by three-quarters of a point, as it did last month.