Biden plans to appoint crypto and big bank critic to lead Wall Street’s main regulator
President Joe Biden plans to appoint a law professor who has criticized cryptocurrencies and has advocated for the government to play a much bigger role in the banking industry to lead a prominent regulator on Wall Street.
Willow Omarova, who has said he wants to “end banking as we know it”, will be called upon to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as early as this week, according to three people familiar with the appointment process who asked not to. be named before a White House announcement. The OCC oversees the nation’s largest lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
Choosing Omarova, who teaches at Cornell University Law School, is a sure hit for Wall Street, as she should pursue tighter oversight and tighter rules. The choice also raises the question of whether the Biden administration would support Omarova’s agenda if it pursued some of its more radical positions, such as shifting consumer banking services to the Federal Reserve from private institutions.
She also cited the rapid rise in cryptocurrencies as “primarily benefiting the dysfunctional financial system that we already have.”
Omarova did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The White House declined to comment.
Omarova could face a tough confirmation fight, as Democrats have a very slim majority in the Senate. The banks, which are big donors to both political parties, will likely lobby aggressively against his candidacy. The Biden administration has so far struggled to fill the OCC post. Earlier this year, the White House was forced to drop previous candidates, including a former Treasury official who drew opposition from Progressive Democrats. Michael Hsu, a former Fed official, has led the OCC on an interim basis since May.
If approved by the Senate, Omarova, from Kazakhstan, would be the first woman to become the full leader of the OCC, which has only ever had one woman as its interim comptroller.
Previously, she worked as a banking attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell and was Special Advisor to President George W. Bush’s Treasury Department. She graduated from Moscow State University and was studying in the United States when the Soviet Union collapsed, Omarova said in interviews. She holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law.
In academic papers, Omarova has supported moving consumer deposits to digital dollar accounts at the Fed, which she describes as part of a “plan to radically reshape the basic architecture and dynamics of the Fed. modern finance. On Twitter, she posted comments about him. distrust of mega-banks.
“Does the world need JPMorgan to get bigger and more powerful?” She asked in a tweet. After the big banks announced dividend increases and share buybacks, she said, “Oh, great! This is what this country needs the most.”
Liberal groups will probably be delighted with his appointment. The Center for Action on Race and the Economy congratulated her as a potential candidate earlier this year, saying in a statement that she “sets us on the path to correcting the wrongdoing of past administrations that have been too comfortable with Wall Street leaders while ignoring the widening racial and economic disparities in our country.
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