President-elect Donald Trump’s Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin took the stand today at his senate hearing, which focused heavily on Mnuchin’s role as chairman of OneWest Bank.
The Senate Finance Committee met today for Mnuchin’s hearing for the Treasury secretary nominee. During the hearing, Democrats continued to ask the “foreclosure king” about his role in his bank’s foreclosures during the housing crisis.
But Mnuchin was quick to defend his actions, saying that his bank always preferred to perform loan modifications when possible, which brought in more income for the bank than a foreclosure.
In fact, even before the hearing Movement Mortgage CEO Casey Crawford defended Mnuchin, saying he was not a foreclosure king.
Mnuchin of his time at OneWest: It has been said that I ran a foreclosure machine. This is not correct. I ran a loan modification machine.— Ben Lane (@BenLaneHW) January 19, 2017
In fact, he said he inherited most of the loans he closed on, rather than created them himself.
Mnuchin’s foreclosures is clearly a topic of concern for many of the Senators. In fact, Banking Committee Ranking Member Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, posted her frustration of Mnuchin’s actions on her Twitter feed.
Mnuchin claimed that his bank made “every effort” to prevent foreclosures during his time there.
While his time at OneWest was a main topic for the hearing, sentors also touched on other topics, such as the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However this topic received less than a minute of time during the hearing.
Mnuchin responded that while he believed the CFPB needed to stay, but said how it is funded should change.
When asked how he would revive community banks by Senator Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, Mnuchin answered that he is very concerned that the regulatory costs put community banks out of business.
“If we want to have economic growth…we need to have banks,” Mnuchin said. “Those banks understand the people in the community and can make good loans.”
Mnuchin also touched on mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, stated that he is not in favor of recap and release, but would rather find a more bi-partisan solution. Read more on that here.
The committee also touched on tax reform, which Mnuchin says he wants to simplify, and Trump’s conflict of interests in his businesses.