The solid economy can give thanks to Janet Yellen

Trump credited with success, but scandal not far behind

The only woman to serve as the head of the USA central bank described her work at the Fed as "the core of my existence".

The bank prioritised growth over ensuring effective risk management and "the enforcement action we are taking today will ensure that Wells Fargo will not expand until it is able to do so safely", Yellen said in what was perhaps her last official act as Fed chair.

She follows in the footsteps of Ben Bernanke, her immediate predecessor as chair of the Fed, former vice chair Don Kohn, and Nellie Liang, former director of its division of financial stability.

As Ms Yellen departs, the only Fed chair in almost 40 years not to be reappointed for a second term, she leaves an economy with unemployment at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent - half the rate when she became chair - quiet inflation and almost four years of uninterrupted growth. They further warn that because the Fed took so long to begin raising rates, a Powell-led Fed could trigger market turbulence with further rate increases and end up harming the economy - possibly even triggering a recession. Then she will start a new job Monday at the Brookings Institution.

In a tweet Friday, Bernanke said, "I congratulate Janet on her outstanding public service and look forward to being her colleague at the Brookings Institution". The labor market is nearing full employment, inflation's mild, and Wall Street bulls are running.

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"Ultimately it's limited by productivity growth, which is weak", she said.

Inflation, though, has consistently fallen short of the Fed's 2 per cent objective during Yellen's tenure and stood at 1.7 per cent in December, according to the Fed's favourite price gauge. Since she took control in February 2014, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by more than 65 per cent.

Before becoming Fed chair in 2014, Yellen was the central bank's vice-chair and president of the Fed's San Francisco regional bank.

Transcripts of Fed policy meetings from the fall of 2008, when Lehman Brothers' collapse ignited the most risky phase of the financial crisis, show that Ms. Yellen helped drive the Fed to unleash just about everything in its economic arsenal, including slashing its key short-term interest rate to a record low near zero.

"I've been in high-level positions in the Federal Reserve for many years", she said. She first served as a governor under Chairman Alan Greenspan in 1994 to 1997, before chairing the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999 during the Clinton administration.

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