Three brand new voters will have a say in U.S. monetary policy in 2017, adding more variability to an already uncertain year for monetary reform.

Joining the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee will be three regional bank presidents who have yet to vote on interest rate decisions: Neel Kashkari of Minneapolis, Robert Kaplan of Dallas, and Patrick Harker of Philadelphia.

Charles Evans of Chicago, who has served as the president of the Chicago Fed since 2007, will also rotate into a voting role, bringing a track record of intellectual influence during the post-crisis years.

The views of the new Fed members on monetary policy are not yet well known, and will be fleshed out in the year ahead. Thanks to the rotating structure of the Fed’s monetary policy committee, they’ll be replacing four other regional bank presidents who proved to be surprisingly “hawkish” — that is, in favor of tightening monetary policy to stave off potential inflation or financial excess — in 2016.

They will inherit a somewhat volatile scenario: Fed members in December suggested they might raise their interest rate target three times in 2017, a reflection that the economy is nearing full health and that President-elect Trump’s victory entails fiscal stimulus. Investors, however, don’t appear fully convinced that the economy is as strong as the Fed believes. They place only slightly above a one-in-three chance that the Fed will raise short-term rates three times in 2017, bond market odds reported by CME Group Thursday suggest.

Here’s a look at the new faces on the Fed in 2017, and how they’ll likely vote and argue when they join the committee in January.


Kashkari, previously best known for managing the TARP bailouts of banks as a member of the George W. Bush Treasury, took office as head of the Minneapolis Fed at the beginning of 2016. He surprised banks and the entire financial system by almost immediately calling for a public inquiry into whether big banks should be broken up. That high-profile effort resulted in a recommendation in November that the government require far higher capital requirements of megabanks, effectively forcing them to break themselves up.

Although Kashkari maintains an unusually candid public social media presence for a Fed official, he hasn’t said too much about monetary policy yet. In one May speech, he stressed “humility and pragmatism,” suggesting that he could be a hawk or dove depending on the circumstances.

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More recently, in December he wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing against the approach, favored by some Republicans, of setting monetary policy according to a specific rule.


Kaplan, a former Harvard Business School professor and Goldman Sachs banker, joined the Dallas Fed in September 2015.

Kaplan appears to favor the course that Fed chair Janet Yellen has charted out, namely for the Fed to slowly tighten monetary policy over the next few years.

As a former banker at an international bank, Kaplan has stressed the importance of economic links between the U.S. and the rest of the world, a consideration that appears to have heightened importance as the Fed continues to raise rates while European and Asian central banks have gone in the other direction, pursuing negative rates and greater stimulus.

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He has also called on Congress to pursue fiscal reforms to address the high level of debt, such as changes to retirement programs like Social Security and Medicare.


Like Kaplan, Harker has a background with Goldman Sachs. He was a trustee of the Goldman Sachs Trust, before being recommended for the top job at the Philadelphia Fed by a search committee — of which he was a member.

Harker, who has a PhD in engineering as well as a master’s in economics, was the president of the University of Delaware before joining the Fed. In an interview this fall with the Wall Street Journal, Harker suggested that he also is “more of a pragmatist,” and that he also favors gradual rate hikes as the economy improves. On the Fed’s hawk-to-dove scale, he quipped, he is an “Eagle” — as in, the Philadelphia Eagles.


Evans is the only academic economist among the four, and a former staffer within the Fed system.

Unlike the others, Evans does have a long track record, and it establishes him as a dove.

He was the author of the so-called “Evans Rule” that the Fed adopted in 2012, pledging that the central bank would not raise interest rates until the unemployment rate fell below 6.5 percent. At the time, the jobless rate was 7.9 percent, and it wouldn’t hit the 6.5 percent mark until the spring of 2014.

In recent years, Evans has also sounded the warning that growth might not ever pick up without accommodative monetary policy.

More recently, however, Evans has seen signs that the cycle is turning, and told reporters in December that with unemployment at 4.6 percent, further stimulus isn’t needed, including the stimulus that would be provided by Trump’s proposed infrastructure spending program.

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