“ Janet Yellen, a top contender to lead the Federal Reserve, has evolved—in her own words—from a slightly “docile” regional bank regulator into a proponent of hard and clear rules designed to make banks less risky.
“The change was prompted by her six years as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco during a torrid period in financial history. As part of that job, which she held through 2010, Ms. Yellen oversaw scores of banks, some of which failed as the housing market collapsed.
“An examination of her record suggests she pre-emptively warned colleagues about problems in the real-estate market but didn’t take aggressive action to address them. While some bankers overseen by Ms. Yellen describe her as a determined regulator, critics note that she had a front-row seat for some of the turbulence that sent the economy into a tailspin and could have done more to prevent rampant real-estate speculation.”
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