Trump White House names interim bank regulator

President Trump is pressing ahead with his own picks to oversee large U.S. banks.

The Trump administration named Keith Noreika interim comptroller of the currency to oversee national banks until the president has time to name his own choice, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday. His role is effective May 5.

Noreika will replace the current comptroller, Thomas Curry, who was appointed by former President Obama in April 2012. His five-year term expired in April.

“Keith Noreika has deep experience in helping banks operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, and provide credit needed for business expansion and job growth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The office oversees the federal banking system and installs its own examiners inside large banks.

Noreika has extensive experience as a bank attorney, most recently as a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. He has advised regional and multinational banks on a number of regulatory issues, including the so-called Volcker Rule, which bans banks from taking risky bets with taxpayer money and ensuring banks comply with rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, immediately objected to the president’s decision to remove a top Wall Street watchdog, while the administration seeks to dismantle the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

“It is disturbing that the President is rushing to replace Mr. Curry with an acting appointee who has clear conflicts of interest, and lacks any experience in running such an important agency,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday.

The vacancy is one of many key financial and economic jobs that remain unfilled by Trump, which includes two open seats on the Federal Reserve Board.

Mnuchin said the comptroller of the currency was one of three vacancies the Trump administration is hoping to fill quickly.

White House officials have also signaled they are close to appointing an official to be the point person on regulation at the Fed. The administration also hopes to fill another Fed board vacancy that must go to a community banker.

The secretary, a former Goldman Sachs banker, said the administration would not package the nominees together, but would nominate people as they are ready.

“We are committed to filling those quickly,” he said.

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