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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Bush nominates Texas banker to head FDIC

Advertiser News Services

President George W. Bush has nominated Texas banker Donald E. Powell to serve a five-year term as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Bush had said he intended to nominate Powell, president and chief executive of First National Bank in Amarillo, to the post. The White House announced yesterday that the nomination had formally been sent to the Senate, which confirms or rejects nominations.

If confirmed by the Senate, Powell will replace current FDIC Chairman Donna Tanoue, of Honolulu, atop the federal regulatory agency that oversees nearly 5,700 banks and the system that insures $3 trillion in deposits at banks and thrifts.

House Financial Services Committee member Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican, said he expected Powell to win confirmation in the Senate and said he thought it was positive to have the next FDIC chairman come straight from the industry.

"You want somebody who understands the industry. When you work in the industry, you know the industry," Bachus said.

Powell has ties to Bush and Phil Gramm of Texas, who will steer the nomination through the Senate. Gramm supports the nomination, according to his spokeswoman, Christi Harlan.

Powell gave $1,000 to Bush's presidential campaign in November, the maximum an individual can give a candidate. Powell also gave $10,000 to the Republican National Committee last June, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tanoue was credited with restoring stability to Hawai'i's thrift industry, rocked by lender failures, while serving as financial services commissioner between 1983 and 1987.

Before joining the FDIC, Tanoue was a partner at the Honolulu law firm Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel.

She won Senate confirmation in April 1998 on a voice vote after a unanimous recommendation from the Banking Committee.