Dick Evans, the longtime CEO of San Antonio-based Cullen/Frost Bankers, told a Fort Worth audience that he thinks Janet Yellen will be tapped ahead of Larry Summers as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Evans, who spoke to at a luncheon for the bank's local customers, is more than a distant observer: He just finished a two-year term as a member of Federal Advisory Council to the Fed's board of governors and knows both Yellen and Summers, considered the two most likely candidates to succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term expires Jan. 31. For the record, Summers is Evans' personal pick of the two, but both are highly qualified and likely to continue recent policies at the nation's central bank, he said. Yellen, currently No. 2 at the Fed, would become the first woman to lead the central bank.
Evans has headed what is the largest bank based in the state since 1997. It's the only one of the top 10 banks that didn't change hands during Texas' energy and real estate bust in the late 1980s, and is widely considered one of the best-run institutions in the state. He's not a fan of the federal Dodd-Frank legislation implemented in the wake of the financial crisis, saying it threatens even small banks with "mountains of red tape," but there is at least one regulatory step he'd like to see the feds take. That's a return to the separation of investment banking and commercial banking, a Depression-era firewall that was breached in 1998 when Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Bills are pending in Congress to do just that, but Evans said he doesn't expect one to pass.
-- Jim Fuquay