Finance

Senate confirms Trump comptroller of the currency nominee

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The Senate on Thursday confirmed former bank executive Joseph Otting to be comptroller of the currency, the top federal banking watchdog.

Otting was confirmed by a 54-to-43 vote largely along party lines. Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) were the only Democrats to support him. Otting will replace acting Comptroller Keith Noreika, who has filled the role since May.

Otting was the president and CEO of OneWest Bank, where he worked with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and a vice chairman at U.S. Bancorp before that. He presided over hundreds of thousands of foreclosures at OneWest Bank, which has been investigated for multiple federal and state housing violations.

{mosads}Otting will help implement the Trump administration’s plans to tailor aspects of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law long protested by banks. Noreika started the process of reviewing the “Volcker rule” on proprietary trading for changes, which Otting will likely continue.

While Republicans praised Otting’s experience in the banking sector, Democrats criticized his record handling foreclosures at OneWest.

“This Administration is putting the banking industry back in charge of policing itself,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee.

“And Joseph Otting is yet another bank exec who profited off the financial crisis who is being rewarded by the Trump Administration with a powerful job overseeing our nation’s banking system.”

Otting said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing that his career “touched virtually every segment of the industry,” including work at banks of all sizes. He said his time OneWest was smeared by a “false narrative.”

As OneWest president, Otting signed a settlement with federal regulators who accused the bank of automatically signing foreclosure papers without reviewing them properly, called “robo-signing.”

Otting claimed that OneWest didn’t robo-sign documents but that he had to sign the consent order to save the business and his employees. 

Tags Heidi Heitkamp Joe Manchin Sherrod Brown Steven Mnuchin
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