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Jerome Powell sworn in as Federal Reserve chairman, vows to 'remain vigilant' about financial risks

Jerome H. Powell was sworn in as chairman of the Federal Reserve on Feb. 5.

Jerome H. Powell was formally sworn in Monday as chairman of the Federal Reserve and vowed to remain vigilant about risks to the financial system.

Powell, a Republican who succeeded Janet L. Yellen, also said he was committed to "explaining what we're doing and why we are doing it" as the central bank works to sustain the ongoing economic recovery and oversee some of the nation's largest financial institutions.

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"Today, unemployment is low, the economy is growing, and inflation is low," Powell said in a video posted on the Fed's website. "Through our decisions on monetary policy, we will support continued economic growth, a healthy job market and price stability."

Powell also said that the "financial system is now far stronger and more resilient than it was before the financial crisis."

"We intend to keep it that way," Powell said. "My colleagues and I will remain vigilant, and we are prepared to respond to evolving risks."

Powell has served as Fed governor since 2012 and supported Yellen's gradual increase in interest rates and tougher oversight of the nation's largest banks. He voted along with Yellen on Friday to order Wells Fargo & Co. to cap its growth and improve its corporate governance in the wake of the bank's unauthorized accounts scandal.

But as a Republican nominated by President Trump, Powell has said he supports easing some financial oversight, particularly for small- and medium-sized banks.

He hinted at that in his video, saying, "We will also work hard to make sure that our regulation and supervision are efficient as well as effective."

Yellen, who was the Fed's first female chief, said in an interview that aired Sunday that she was disappointed that Trump did not renominate her.

Although Yellen earned praise for her four-year term, she had the shortest tenure for a Fed leader in nearly four decades. On Monday, she joined the Brookings Institution think tank as a distinguished fellow in residence in the economic studies program.

"I made clear that I would be willing to serve another term, and so yes, I do feel a sense of disappointment," Yellen told "CBS Sunday Morning."

But Yellen said she supported the choice of Powell as her successor.

"I've worked with Gov. Powell for five years, very constructively," Yellen said. "He is thoughtful, balanced, dedicated to public service. I've found him to be a very thoughtful policymaker."

Twitter: @JimPuzzanghera

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