Thomas Hoenig to step down as vice chair of FDIC

Thomas M. Hoenig

Thomas M. Hoenig announced on April 27 he plans to step down as vice chairman and member of the board of directors of the FDIC on April 30. He has served since April 2012, a full six-year term.

Prior to joining the FDIC, Mr. Hoenig was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a member of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1991-2011.

Hoenig had been a vocal critic of financial regulatory and monetary policy. Throughout his career at the Kansas City Fed, which dates back to 1973, Hoenig warned of the dangers of too-big-to-fail, advocated for a narrowing of the financial services industry safety net and advocated for higher interest rates. Hoenig also consistently sounded the alarm on the harmful effects of too-big-to-fail regulatory policies. As early as the mid-1990s, he was urging international financial leaders to steer clear of policies that give the largest financial institutions undue advantages. Later, as lawmakers debated the law that became the Dodd-Frank Act, he advocated for well-defined limits to the federal safety net. Hoenig also urged expansion of the Volcker Rule, which bans banking organizations from activities they enjoyed in the pre-crisis era.

Born and raised in Iowa, Hoenig was an economist in the KC Fed’s Division of Bank Supervision and Structure during the 1970s and 1980s, a historically difficult period for the Tenth Federal Reserve District, an area that includes western Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado and northern New Mexico. During the banking crisis of the 1980s, Hoenig was involved with nearly 350 banks in the district that either failed or received assistance. Hoenig’s official biography says that these experiences formed the basis for his perspective on financial industry regulation and the need to address too-big-to-fail institutions.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the public and be a part of the FDIC and its mission during these past six years,” Mr. Hoenig said.

“I would like to thank Vice Chairman Hoenig for his extraordinary career of public service at both the FDIC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City,” said FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg. “Tom has been a forceful advocate for strong, independent financial regulation and has contributed enormously to the mission of the FDIC during his time as Vice Chairman. The FDIC was fortunate to benefit from his service.”