Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday emphatically defended the web of regulations the Fed helped enact after the 2008 financial crisis, saying it helped restore the banking system's health and disputing criticism that the rules have hurt lending, the AP reports. Yellen said the Fed is prepared to adjust the regulations as needed to help financial institutions. But in a speech to an annual conference of central bankers in Wyoming, she implicitly rejected efforts by Republicans, including President Trump, to scrap the 2010 Dodd-Frank law as a threat to the economy. The Fed chair refrained from remarking on the state of the economy or on the possible future course of interest rates. Investors had been awaiting her speech for any signals about what the Fed might do when it meets next month.
Overhanging Yellen's speech was the possibility that it marks her final appearance in Jackson Hole as Fed chair. Her term as chair will end in February, and Trump has made clear he is considering replacing her. One candidate he has mentioned is Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs senior executive who leads Trump's National Economic Council. Some saw Yellen's forceful defense Friday of the regulatory structure imposed on banks since the 2008 crisis as further lessening the likelihood that Trump will reappoint her. Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said Yellen's speech "puts her at odds with Trump's deregulation mandate, which could weigh against her remaining as chair when her term expires early next year."