The Federal Housing Finance Board is moving ahead with a new process for appointing outside directors to the boards of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks that is designed to be a merit-based system aimed at avoiding political interference.Effective immediately, the new procedures allow the individual FHLBanks to identify two candidates for each public interest director seat and submit their names and qualifications to the Finance Board for approval. The Finance Board reserves the right to approve one candidate or reject both under an interim rule approved Jan. 18. "The process of initially identifying such persons and ascertaining their willingness to serve is best executed by each individual bank," Finance Board Chairman Ronald Rosenfeld said. It is understood that this process is widely supported by the FHLBanks and banking trade groups that represent members of the banks. The Bush administration has blocked appointments for the past three years, and there are currently 57 vacant public interest director seats.

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