Yellen confirmed as next Fed chair

by Ryan Smith06 Jan 2014
Janet Yellen has been confirmed as the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Yellen will replace current Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, whose term expires Jan. 31.

Yellen, currently the Fed’s vice chair, will be the first woman to head the agency. She’ll also be the first Democrat to chair the Fed since Carter nominee Paul Volcker left the position in 1987. Yellen was confirmed in the face of strong conservative opposition, with the conservative Heritage Foundation last month publicly opposing her confirmation.

Yellen is widely expected to continue Bernanke’s easy-money policies against the wishes of many in the GOP, who are frustrated with the Fed’s “quantitative easing” stimulus project, under which the agency purchased $85bn in bonds every month for more than a year. Last month the Fed announced it would scale the program back to $75bn per month, with further decreases planned as economic data allows.

The program has been a boon to the mortgage industry, which saw rates fall to near-historic lows as a result of QE.

Industry players have generally supported Yellen’s confirmation.

“I think it’s a good thing for the industry,” said Marc Savitt, president of the National Association of Independent Housing Professionals. “She’s kind of middle of the road, and I think she’s a good choice. She proceeds cautiously. I don’t think she’s going to do anything radical that will spook the markets.”