WASHINGTON Jan 3 Sandra Braunstein, the Federal
Reserve's director of the consumer and community affairs
division, will retire in April, the U.S. central bank said on
Braunstein will leave the division that is in charge of
writing consumer protection rules. She also has served as the
Fed's liaison to community groups and consumer advocates.
Braunstein was hired by the Fed in 1987 and has led the
consumer division since 2004, the Fed said in a statement.
During the later years of her tenure, she helped shift consumer
protection activities from the Fed to the new Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.
"She has demonstrated strong leadership in the development
and implementation of policies and practices to promote
community development, safeguard consumers, and ensure that
financial institutions comply with federal consumer protection
laws," outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a statement.
The Fed came under intense criticism from Congress after the
2007-2009 financial crisis for lax oversight of the biggest U.S.
banks. Critics said the agency failed to protect consumers from
financial institutions' bad behavior.
As a result, Congress established a separate bureau focused
solely on protecting Americans from financial scams.
Braunstein was called before Congress to offer guidance on
mortgage rules during the financial crisis, and the central bank
took a series of steps to provide help to consumers under her
watch, the Fed said.
She helped develop a new regulatory framework for credit
cards, the Fed said. In 2008, the Fed established new regulatory
protections for consumers in the residential mortgage market.
Braunstein also oversaw the creation of mortgage foreclosure
mitigation and neighborhood stabilization programs.
The Fed statement did not say what Braunstein planned to do
after leaving the agency. The agency has hired an outside
recruiting firm to consider candidates to replace her.