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Senate confirms Gruenberg and Hoenig as FDIC leaders

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Martin J. Gruenberg as chairman and Thomas Hoenig as vice chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The banking agency has been without an official leader since Sheila Bair stepped down as chair in July 2011. Congressional bickering over President Obama’s nominations at other agencies, including Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stalled a number of confirmations.

Gruenberg and Hoenig were confirmed to six-year terms on the FDIC’s board of directors in March, but the Senate refrained from finalizing their leadership roles.

Gruenberg and Hoenig were widely expected to sail through the confirmations process once the presidential election was over. Gruenberg has served as acting chair since Bair’s departure, while Hoenig was selected by Republicans to be second in command.

However, Senate Republican leaders held out on bringing the confirmation to a vote on the chance that Mitt Romney won the presidential election and wanted to select his own nominees.

Gruenberg, who has served on the FDIC board since August 2005, has an extensive background in financial services and regulation.

For 12 years, he served as senior counsel to Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) on the staff of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Prior to that, Gruenberg was the staff director of the Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on International Finance and Monetary Policy.

“I am deeply appreciative of the Senate’s action. ... It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead this great public institution,” said Gruenberg in a statement.

Before Hoenig’s accepted a position on the FDIC board, he served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was a member of the Federal Reserve System’s Federal Open Market Committee from 1991 to 2011.

“I am honored to serve as the Vice Chairman of the FDIC at such a pivotal time for our country’s banking system and look forward to working with my colleagues at the FDIC and other banking agencies,” Hoenig said in a statement.

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