Top US bank regulator to step down

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In the latest change amid the top ranks of US financial regulation under the Trump administration, the head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — an agency that oversees national banks and federal savings associations — will step aside at the end of the week, to be replaced on an interim basis by lawyer Keith Noreika.

Thomas Curry, the current comptroller whose five-year term expired in April, will leave on Friday, according to a statement from the office, which is an independent bureau of the Treasury department. Mr Norieka will become acting comptroller then, and he will also be designated first deputy comptroller.

Mr Noreika has most recently worked as a partner at the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in Washington, DC, where he advised financial institutions on regulatory matters. He has also worked as a partner at another firm, Covington & Burling, and has taught banking law at the University of Virginia School of Law and University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

In a statement, Mr Curry called his time at the OCC “the highlight of my career”, and said he plans to return home to Boston, Massachusetts, after leaving Washington.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in a statement:

“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. I am confident that he will capably lead the OCC in carrying out its important mission.”

The announcement comes a day after the US Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to chair the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, a corporate lawyer from Sullivan & Cromwell.

Mr Curry’s replacement drew criticism from Sherrod Brown, a US senator from Ohio who is the top Democrat on the Senate’s banking committee. Mr Brown called Mr Curry “a strong, independent watchdog for the nation’s biggest banks, and a dedicated, thoughtful public servant who helped respond to the worst financial crisis in generations.”

Mr Brown said he found it “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.”

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