NYDFS superintendent to step down amid rumors of tension with CuomoÕ office

Anthony Albanese served as chief of staff for Benjamin Lawsky

The acting superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services will step down later this year, amidst rumors of tension between the NYDFS and the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Anthony Albanese, who took over as NYDFS superintendent when Benjamin Lawsky announced his departure earlier this year, will step down himself before the end of the year.

Albanese was Lawsky’s chief of staff, and seen by many as his protégé, but now he too is leaving the NYDFS.

According to the WSJ report, the relationship between the NYDFS and Cuomo’s office has become strained recently over the reach of the NYDFS, which wielded a great deal of supervisory power during Lawsky’s reign.

From the WSJ report:

There have been growing tensions between DFS and the office of Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, since Mr. Albanese’s predecessor, Benjamin Lawsky, left the agency in June to start his own legal and consulting firm, the people (familiar with the matter) said.

Mr. Cuomo’s staff has sought in recent months to exert more control over the regulator, which has established itself as a powerful financial watchdog and brought billions of dollars in penalties to New York state’s general fund. The regulator was also unpopular on Wall Street, where some executives felt the department at times overreached on Mr. Lawsky’s watch.

When Lawsky stepped down, he told staffers that Albanese would be taking over as the acting superintendent while Cuomo’s office searched for a permanent replacement.

In a statement provided to HousingWire, Albanese said that his appointment to the superintendent position was never meant to be permanent.

"It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the Governor, and I am deeply proud of what we have been able to accomplish with his support,” Albanese said.

“After four years at DFS, I decided it was time to return to the private sector and I have accepted another opportunity outside of government,” he continued. “This was always intended to be a temporary position to help smooth the transition process." 

According to a spokesman for Cuomo’s office, Albanese’s appointment was always meant to be temporary.

“As was widely reported, when the prior superintendent left, his deputy, Mr. Albanese, agreed to stay for a short time to assist with the transition, with the understanding that a permanent replacement would then be appointed,” Dani Lever, a Cuomo spokeswoman, told Bloomberg.

[Update: This article has been updated to reflect the original source of the report, the Wall Street Journal. A previous version identified Bloomberg as the original source.]

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