News Release

Ricki Tigert Helfer, Recent FDIC Chair and CEO, Joins Brookings As Senior Fellow

January 22, 1998

The Brookings Institution is pleased to announce that Ricki Tigert Helfer—recent chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)—is joining Brookings as a non-resident senior fellow in the Economic Studies program. Helfer will focus on efforts to improve the banking and financial regulatory systems of emerging market countries, and on the prospects for convergence of international financial regulatory standards worldwide.

“In light of the recent financial turmoil in Asia, it’s clearer than ever that a sound regulatory infrastructure is key to a sound economy,” said Brookings President Michael H. Armacost. “Having someone with Ricki Helfer’s breadth of government experience in international and domestic financial regulation will bolster Brookings’ work in this vital area.”

“I am very pleased,” said Helfer, “that I will be able to apply my experiences in banking and financial regulation over the past twenty years to the significant regulatory issues that face the world’s financial system today. My appointment at Brookings gives me the flexibility to continue to pursue a variety of ongoing projects in banking and
finance while working with an outstanding group of colleagues with broad expertise in related disciplines.”

As chairman of the FDIC from 1994 to 1997, Helfer implemented significant internal management reforms and modern financial controls and systems at the agency. In addition, she oversaw the integration of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) into the FDIC during 1995 to complete the task of resolving the thrift failures from the U.S. savings and loan crisis. Helfer was also a leader of the successful legislative effort in 1996 to capitalize the Savings Association Insurance Fund, and she presided over the complete recapitalization of the Bank Insurance Fund, contributing to the largest cumulative insurance reserves in the FDIC’s history.

During her chairmanship, Helfer also served on the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision. She initiated the first rigorous examination of the banking and thrift crises of the 1980s and early 1990s, resulting in a recently published study, History of the Eighties: Lessons for the Future. And to avoid future widespread banking crises in the United States, Helfer launched a Division of Insurance to look beyond institution-specific examination data and aggregate banking industry statistics to the effects of economic and other factors on the industry’s health.

Prior to her FDIC chairmanship, Helfer was a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, chief international lawyer for the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors (1985-92), where she was actively involved in efforts to resolve the sovereign debt crisis.

Helfer received a law degree with honors from the University of Chicago Law School and an M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she wrote a dissertation on the political culture of Japan. She and her husband Michael S. Helfer live in Washington, D.C.

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