Noreika Returns to Simpson Thacher After OCC Stint

By Jeff Bater

Keith Noreika, who attained a high profile during a six-month stretch running the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has returned to his law firm, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Once considered a candidate to helm the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Noreika returns to his partnership in Simpson Thacher’s financial institutions practice. The firm said in an announcement Jan. 8 he will focus on banking regulation and related litigation.

Noreika was named acting comptroller of the currency in May 2017, replacing Thomas Curry, whose term had expired.

Outspoken in Job

Noreika amassed a fair amount of publicity during his short time as acting OCC director. He tangled with CFPB Director Richard Cordray over the agency’s arbitration rule, took steps to revise the Volcker rule, proposed a consolidation of federal regulatory authority, and took swipes at state regulators as he defended the idea of special federal charters for financial technology firms.

Noreika was replaced in November after President Donald Trump’s nominee Joseph Otting was confirmed by the Senate to lead the OCC. Noreika was mentioned as a potential nominee for CFPB director following Cordray’s departure, but he said he didn’t want the job and planned on returning to the private sector.

Back at Simpson Thacher, Noreika will advise banks on regulatory issues relating to mergers and acquisitions, minority investments, capital issuances, structuring and compliance activities, and litigation matters, particularly in the area of federal preemption.

“While I was proud to have had the opportunity to serve our country as the acting comptroller of the currency over the past year, I am now eager to help clients with the spectrum of issues they face as they explore opportunities for their organizations, employees and shareholders and ultimately benefit the economy more broadly,” Noreika said in the firm’s announcement of his return.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Bater in Washington at jbater@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com

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