Yellen to shake up U.S. bank regulator with new appointment – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to make her mark by naming a new supervisor for a major U.S. banking regulator that Democrats say was too friendly to large banks under the Trump administration, according to two people familiar with the matter.

FILE PHOTO: The United States Department of the Treasury is seen in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Yellen is expected to name Michael Hsu as the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates the country’s large banks. Hsu is currently associate director of the Fed’s bank supervision and regulation division, which shares responsibility for monitoring the nation’s largest banks.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the move.

The move will allow the Biden administration to overhaul the leadership of the agency, which Democrats say has not done enough to protect consumers.

Hsu will replace Blake Paulson, the current acting head and a long-time OCC official who rose to the acting role under the Trump administration.

The Treasury did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While top posts at places like the Securities and Exchange Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have permanent leadership or nominees in waiting from President Joe Biden, the OCC has gone without leadership picked by the new administration.

Democrats have fought over the best leader for the agency, which they believe could play a key role in addressing wealth inequality and racial injustice problems.

Michael Barr, a University of Michigan Law School professor and former Treasury official under President Barack Obama was under consideration for the post, as was Mehrsa Baradaran, law professor at the University of California’s Irvine School of Law.

Democrats and the Biden administration have yet to coalesce around a single candidate, though, and a slim majority in the U.S. Senate means every Democrat would likely need to back a particular nominee for them to be confirmed.

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