Senate Panel Approves Trump Pick McWilliams for FDIC

By Jeff Bater

The Senate Banking Committee approved President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The committee’s voice vote Feb. 8 sends the nomination of Jelena McWilliams to the full Senate for final vetting. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only member to express opposition to advancing the nomination.

McWilliams said during her confirmation hearing Jan. 23 that she would move quickly to review applications for industrial loan company charters, while avoiding taking a position on whether to relax leverage ratios that led to higher capital levels at big banks.

McWilliams, the chief legal officer at Fifth Third Bancorp, didn’t reveal much about her views on Wall Street oversight during the hearing, instead focusing on regulatory relief for community banks.

One issue McWilliams would face as head of the FDIC is providing relief for small banks from Volcker Rule trading restrictions. The Trump financial regulation team is expected to address the rule in 2018, with the intent to lighten the compliance burden on banks with less than $10 billion in assets.

McWilliams would replace Martin Gruenberg as chair of the FDIC, one of three federal regulators of banks. The agency maintains an insurance fund that protects bank deposits up to $250,000.

Trump has already filled the leadership positions at the other two banking agencies, with Joseph Otting serving as comptroller of the currency and Jerome Powell as Fed chair.

Before Fifth Third, McWilliams was a former chief counsel for Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee and also worked at the Federal Reserve.

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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