Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen defended financial reforms that were put in place after the Great Recession, arguing they have strengthened the financial system and haven’t hurt economic growth.
Speaking during the annual central bank research conference, which was covered by Reuters, Yellen said any changes to the rules put forth should not be huge. “The balance of research suggests that the core reforms we have put in place have substantially boosted resilience without unduly limiting credit availability or economic growth.” According to Reuters, her comments mark her biggest defense of the regulatory rules that are already in place and are seen as a rebuke to President Trump‘s stated goal of lowering the amount of oversight and regulations the financial industry faces. It could also be among her last remarks on the topic, given that Trump is mulling whether to replace Yellen or nominate her for another four years heading up the Federal Reserve. Her current term ends in February. “She is sort of putting a stake in the ground here in terms of this regulation issue, which is the one sort of sticking point between her and Trump right now,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors, in an interview with Reuters.
According to the report, the Fed chair did say there were some areas where less regulation could make sense, pointing specifically to easing up the Volcker rule that puts a limit on the equity trading of banks and relaxing more rules placed on medium and small banks. What’s more, she agreed that steps could be necessary to improve liquidity in some areas of the bond market, noting the system is still “robust,” reported Reuters. At the time she defended other Obama-era rules, pointing specially to the annual stress tests big banks have to go through. “Any adjustment to the regulatory framework should be modest and preserve the increase in resilience” in a financial system that she said is prepared to handle future shocks, reported Reuters.