Senate Confirms McWilliams to Lead FDIC

By Jeff Bater

The Senate confirmed Jelena McWilliams as Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chair in a move that better positions the Trump administration to pursue its bank deregulatory agenda.

The 69-24 vote endorsed President Donald Trump’s pick to a five-year term as chair of the banking agency.

McWilliams was easily approved by the Senate Banking Committee in February, by a 24-1 margin.

Banking Team

McWilliams’s appointment fills out Trump’s banking regulatory roster, clearing a path to accelerating the administration’s deregulatory intentions. She will join a team that includes Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

McWilliams served as chief counsel for the Senate Banking Committee and executive vice president at Fifth Third Bank.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said McWilliams’s resume spans government and the private sector. “As a lawyer, policy expert, and executive, she’s studied financial regulations from all angles,” McConnell said May 23 on the Senate floor.

McWilliams will replace Martin Gruenberg, an Obama-era appointee.

Full Agenda

Revamps on the Volcker Rule and the Community Reinvestment Act are among regulatory work awaiting McWilliams once she’s in office.

Challenges faced by community banks will be another agenda item for McWilliams. The FDIC nominee told senators at her confirmation hearing in January that she would find ways to encourage bank formation and help small lenders.

The Senate’s confirmation of McWilliams came minutes after Trump signed legislation ( S. 2155) reducing Dodd-Frank Act regulations on community and midsize banks.

McConnell said McWilliams is “especially attentive to the difficulties facing smaller community banks.”

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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