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President Names Foreclosure Prince to Oversee National Banks

June 6, 2017

President Names Foreclosure Prince to Oversee National Banks

Statement of Bartlett Naylor, Financial Policy Advocate, Public Citizen

Note: Today, the president nominated Joseph Otting to serve as Comptroller of the Currency, regulator of national banks. Otting previously served as CEO of OneWest Bank, formerly chaired by now-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The firm foreclosed on more than 60,000 families.

By appointing Joseph Otting, President Donald Trump is telling us that bankers who engaged in predatory foreclosures against American families will be rewarded with overseeing our national banks. To the victims of the financial crisis who lost their homes, the administration’s message is stark: We don’t care.

What’s more, Otting’s bank just agreed to an $89 million penalty for allegations of false claims on government insurance. Apparently, that’s a badge of honor for the Trump administration.

Mnuchin’s business connection to Otting raises further ethical questions. Will Otting be independent of political interests from the president’s Treasury secretary? Or will he reprise his role as Mnuchin’s employee?

As comptroller, Otting also would serve on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. In these roles, he can help eviscerate Congress’ Volcker Rule mandates to limit bank gambling with deposits. If Trump is serious about breaking the link between banks and terrorism, it’s dangerous to rely on someone whose only qualification seems to be that he’s a friend of a friend.

America’s financial industry should serve its customers and the nation. To do that, we need nominees occupying regulatory offices created by Congress who are more than self-serving cronies.

The Senate should reject his nomination.