McWilliams Discusses Banks’ Critical Role in U.S. Economy, Supervision

In a deeply personal speech at a Florida Bankers Association event last night, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams offered her perspectives on the U.S. financial system and how having an appropriately tailored regulatory framework enables banks to help their customers live the American dream.

Using stories from her life as a young immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, McWilliams highlighted her own interactions with the American financial system — from her first secured credit card that helped her establish a credit history to the home mortgage she obtained as a single mother – and discussed how those experiences have shaped her approach to financial regulation as she heads the FDIC.

McWilliams emphasized her view that bank supervisors should “respect a bank’s business judgment and maintain an open, two-way dialogue with the firm’s management. We need to properly balance protecting the Deposit Insurance Fund and maintain financial stability with allowing banks room to be nimble and make the right business decisions to better serve their customers and communities.”

She also recapped several FDIC initiatives started under her leadership, including a request for information on small-dollar lending, an effort to encourage de novo bank formation, actions to better tailor regulations and implemention of the S. 2155 regulatory reform law.