Trump reportedly considering former OneWest CEO to lead OCC

Joseph Otting worked closely with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

President Donald Trump is reportedly close to installing another former top OneWest Bank official in a significant role in the government, CNBC reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the Trump administration is “expected to name” Joseph Otting to serve as the Comptroller of the Currency, one of the country’s top financial regulators.

Otting served as the CEO of OneWest from 2010 until 2015, working alongside Steven Mnuchin, the recently installed Secretary of the Department of the Treasury and the bank's former chairman.

Otting would replace Thomas Curry, whose term as the Comptroller of the Currency expires next month.

Here’s more from CNBC:

The White House is expected to name former OneWest executive Joseph Otting as comptroller of the currency, according to two people with direct knowledge of the selection process, installing a close colleague of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a key regulatory role.

The sources said Otting has undergone formal vetting. One person with direct knowledge said he has received a thumbs up from Mnuchin, with whom he worked closely at OneWest, the California bank that the Treasury secretary purchased in 2009. Another said that Otting has gained the approval of President Donald Trump.

The CNBC article notes that Otting was fired by the bank after merging with CIT Group in 2015.

To serve as Comptroller of the Currency, Otting would need to be confirmed by the Senate, and Senate Democrats would likely hold OneWest’s foreclosure practices against him, as was the case with Mnuchin.

Again from CNBC:

Otting joined OneWest as chief executive in 2010. At the time, Mnuchin cited Otting's knowledge of the market, client relationships and leadership capabilities. He was a visible defender of the bank during community protests accusing it of aggressively foreclosing on homeowners, and during the bank's merger with CIT. However, Otting was fired after the acquisition occurred.

Democrats frequently criticized Mnuchin during his confirmation process over OneWest’s lending and servicing activities.

Democrats began calling Mnuchin the “foreclosure king” in an attempt to use OneWest’s foreclosure practices against him.

Senate Democrats attempted to dent Mnuchin’s nomination during his confirmation hearing, even going to so far as pushing to allow some of OneWest’s supposed foreclosure victims to testify before the Senate Finance Committee.

Then Democrats took their fight against Mnuchin a step further by boycotting the committee’s vote, but the Republicans on the committee overrode that.

Despite the Democrats’ efforts, Mnuchin was confirmed in a partisan vote of 53-47.

The CNBC also notes that the Trump administration is considering Thomas Vartanian, who “advised Bank of America on its purchase of the troubled mortgage lender Countrywide during the financial crisis,” to replace Daniel Tarullo, who recently announced his resignation from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Tarullo is also the Fed’s vice chairman of supervision, a position considered to be among the most powerful in banking.

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