McWilliams sworn in as FDIC chair

McWilliams sworn in as FDIC chair
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Jelena McWilliams, a former bank executive and Senate staffer, was sworn in Tuesday as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the agency announced.

McWilliams was the executive vice president and chief legal officer of Fifth Third Bank when President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE nominated her in November. She was recommended in February by the Senate Banking Committee, where she had served as an aide, and confirmed by the full Senate last week.

McWilliams will replace Martin Gruenberg, the FDIC chairman since 2012, in leading the agency charged with insuring deposits and overseeing safety and soundness at U.S. banks. Gruenberg has been on the FDIC board since 2005, and could remain on as vice chairman.

McWilliams said it is “an honor and a privilege to join the FDIC as Chairman,” and thanked Gruenberg for “his service, dedication, and leadership during his nearly 13 years at the FDIC.”

Her confirmation puts a Trump-appointed official in charge of every federal bank regulator amid the agencies’ push to rewrite Dodd-Frank Act regulations.

The Federal Reserve is leading an interagency effort to rewrite the Volcker rule, a provision of Dodd-Frank which bans banks from making speculative investments with their own capital.

Banks have long insisted that the rule was too unclear to follow and unnecessary for smaller firms with little to no risk to the broader financial system.

While the proposal was supported by Gruenberg, who backs strict bank regulations, the ascension of McWilliams gives the agencies a chance to make deeper changes to the rule.

McWilliams will also weigh in on proposed changes to several Dodd-Frank capital buffers and leverage ratio requirements the Fed is seeking to loosen, as well as potential updates to the Community Reinvestment Act.

The 1977 law is meant to prevent mortgage discrimination and encourage banks to invest in struggling areas in which they operate. Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, a former bank president, is spearheading the formal process of revamping the act.