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Yellen Fed Guarantees Change in Bank Culture

Stocks in this article: BAC JPM WFC

"Putting aside the debate over philosophy and qualifications, we look at the raw political numbers and believe that Janet Yellen will be confirmed to be Fed Chairman," Brian Gardner, senior vice president of Washington Research at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, said in a client note.

Janet Yellen has deep experience with the Federal Reserve that goes back nearly two decades and includes a significant body of work under both Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke's leadership. She joined the Fed's board of governors in 1994 for a three-year tenure before onto the White House as a member of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors from 1997 through 1999.

Yellen returned to the Fed in 2004 as president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve and was in the position during the later years of the housing bubble and the crisis, when Bernanke and other Fed officials devised a set of extraordinary measures to pump liquidity into the financial system and support the financial standing of large banks.

Her ascent continued in 2009 when she became a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee and in 2010, President Obama when nominated Yellen as vice chair of the central bank.

Yellen is deeply familiar with the activities that promoted the housing bubble and the financial crisis. She has become enmeshed in the central bank's post-crisis regulatory response and is likely to eventually state a clear set of values that will govern her work as chairperson.

Obama's appointment of Yellen does break ground in putting a female at the top of the Fed -- generally thought of as the most important position in all of finance -- and it will be interesting to see if her nomination brings a new breed of women into top leadership roles in finance.

Currently, none of America's largest banks have a female CEO, however, some are beginning to speculate on possible successors to Jamie Dimon, the current chairman and CEO of JPMorgan. Were JPMorgan's legal issues to escalate, it wouldn't be surprising for discussion to center on Mary Erdoes, a wealth management executive, to be considered a possible successor.

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