Yellen taps former Fed official as acting comptroller

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday tapped former Federal Reserve official Michael Hsu to be acting chief of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

Yellen, a former Fed chief, appointed Hsu to be first deputy comptroller of the currency and said he will become the acting comptroller upon taking office Monday. Hsu was previously the associate director of the Fed’s division of supervision, leading efforts to oversee major banks.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve as Acting Comptroller of the Currency alongside those who ensure our federal banking system operates in a safe, sound, and fair manner,” Hsu said in a Friday statement released by the OCC.

“I appreciate the confidence Secretary Yellen has shown in me by appointing me to this important post.”

Hsu will replace current Acting Comptroller Blake Paulson, a career OCC official, as the bank regulator’s temporary head until the confirmation of an eventual nominee from President Biden.

The OCC, an independent agency housed within the Treasury Department, is charged with supervising U.S. banks to make sure they’re operating safely and complying with a litany of federal regulations. The agency has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since the May 2020 resignation of former Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, a Trump appointee.

“Mike has devoted his career to the stability and supervision of America’s banking system. He is among the most talented and principled regulatory officials that I have had the pleasure of working with, and I am confident he will execute this role with integrity and efficiency,” Yellen said.

Democratic lawmakers and a broad range of left-leaning advocacy groups have been pressuring Biden to nominate an OCC chief and kick-start a more forceful approach to the agency’s mission.

Liberals are eager for a Biden-picked comptroller to pull the OCC’s “true lender” rule on third-party loan partnerships, work with other bank regulators on improved Community Reinvestment Act regulations and set tighter standards for financial technology companies seeking charters to offer banking services.

Tags banking regulation Financial services Janet Yellen Joe Biden Joseph Otting Michael Hsu Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

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