The Trump Team Has Some Big Holes to Fill Among Financial Regulators

May 03, 2017

The White House is working on filling all three open slots at the Federal Reserve Board and will announce a new interim boss for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a key banking regulator, Wednesday morning, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Four months into his administration, President Donald Trump is beginning to put his stamp on U.S. financial regulation, with the Senate approving Jay Clayton late Tuesday as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trump has also ordered Mnuchin to review the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law by June 3, as well as look into other areas of rulemaking, a difficult task given the government's lean crew of regulators.

Mnuchin told a conference of community bankers on Wednesday that Trump has also signed off on a nominee to fill the role of vice-chair of supervision at the Federal Reserve, but did not name the person. Reuters had previously reported that Randal Quarles, who worked as under secretary for domestic finance at the Treasury under President George W. Bush, was a leading candidate for the role.

Mnuchin said the vice-chair post, created in Dodd-Frank, is an “enormously important” position and they want to name that as soon as they can, adding the administration would not package all three Fed Board nominees into one announcement and confirmation. Still, Mnuchin said the administration was close to naming the two other Fed selections.

A crucial role in overseeing Wall Street's banks, the vice-chair position has been vacant since its creation. Former Fed governor Daniel Tarullo had stepped in to fill the supervision void before leaving the central bank in April.

Nearly every major financial regulator has had significant leadership gaps since Trump was inaugurated in January, and there are more openings on the horizon as the terms expire for rulemakers who were appointed by former President Barack Obama. The U.S. Senate, where Trump's fellow Republicans hold only a slim majority, must sign off on most of the postings which could slow down Trump and Mnuchin's work on changing the reforms that came out of the 2007-09 financial crisis.

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