Bernanke says he plans to stay in Washington after stepping down from the Fed in January

WASHINGTON – Ben Bernanke says he intends to stay in Washington for the “immediate future” after he steps down as chairman of the Federal Reserve next month.

But he was otherwise vague on his future plans when asked about them at his final quarterly news conference as chairman.

Responding to a question about his retirement plans, Bernanke said he has decided to stay in Washington rather than return to his hometown of Dillon, S.C., where he has an uncle.

“He is 85 and very chipper,” Bernanke said but he indicated that he now has more relatives living in North Carolina than South Carolina.

His successor, Janet Yellen, is expected to be confirmed soon by the Senate. Bernanke’s term as chairman ends on Jan. 31.