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Federal Reserve governor to step down

In her resignation letter to President Obama, Federal Reserve governor Elizabeth A. Duke did not say why she was stepping down or what she plans to do in the future.

Haraz N. Ghanbari/Associated Press/File

In her resignation letter to President Obama, Federal Reserve governor Elizabeth A. Duke did not say why she was stepping down or what she plans to do in the future.

WASHINGTON — Elizabeth A. Duke, a Federal Reserve governor who has helped to overhaul the Fed’s approach to financial regulation, said Thursday that she would step down at the end of August.

Duke, just the seventh woman to serve on the Fed’s board, has also been a quiet but consistent supporter of Ben Bernanke, the chairman, and of the central bank’s economic stimulus campaign.

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In a letter of resignation submitted to President Obama, Duke, 60, said that she was “proud to have contributed” to those efforts.

“I am especially gratified to have brought my own practical banking experience and community banking perspective to the massive overhaul of financial system regulations,” Duke wrote.

She did not offer a reason for leaving, nor did she describe her plans. Her term ended in January, but governors can remain in office until a replacement is nominated, and the Obama administration had not sought her departure.

“President Obama is grateful to Elizabeth Duke for her years of valued service,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage wrote on Twitter.

Duke, a Virginia banker who ran a series of community banks and served as chairwoman of the American Bankers Association, was nominated to the Fed in May 2007 by President George W. Bush and joined the board the following year. Her experience as a lender set her apart in a group mostly composed of academics and policy makers, and led her to focus on the reconstruction of the housing finance system, working to strike a balance between stronger safeguards and broad access to homeownership.

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“New mortgage regulations will provide important protections to borrowers but may also lead to a permanent increase in the cost of originating loans to borrowers with lower credit scores,” she cautioned in a May speech surveying the changed landscape.

The White House is already considering replacements for Bernanke, who is expected to step down from the Fed when his term ends in January. Duke and Bernanke are the last remaining members of the Fed’s board initially nominated by Bush, although Bernanke was subsequently nominated to a second term by Obama.

Duke praised Bernanke’s leadership in her resignation letter.

“I would like to express my admiration for Chairman Bernanke’s courage and extraordinary intellect,” she wrote. “His considerable personal strengths proved to be invaluable during very difficult economic times.”

Bernanke returned the compliment in a statement.

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