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Otting takes over as Comptroller of the Currency, pledges to reduce regulatory “burden”

Former CIT Bank executive replaces acting Comptroller Keith Norieka

President Donald Trump now has another of his handpicked choices leading one of the country’s top banking regulators.

Joseph Otting, who the Trump administration nominated back in June, was officially sworn in on Monday as the next Comptroller of the Currency.

Otting took the oath of office from Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who knows Otting well from their time at OneWest Bank.

Otting served as the CEO of OneWest from 2010 until 2015, working alongside Mnuchin, the bank's former chairman. Otting was let go by OneWest when the bank merged with the CIT Group in 2015.

Otting takes over as comptroller from Keith Norieka, who resigned recently after serving in the position for approximately six months. During his time as comptroller, Norieka was outspoken, most notably for his opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule. 

Norieka filled the role after Thomas Curry stepped down as comptroller of the currency on May 5. Curry sat in the position for more than five years.

Now, Otting is officially in place as the 31st Comptroller of the Currency.

Upon taking over as comptroller, Otting issued a statement that laid out his vision for how the agency should regulate the banking industry. Namely, it appears that Otting will seek to reduce the regulatory “burden” that banks currently face.

“As a career banker, I know firsthand the importance of effective supervision and the value that OCC examiners and other professionals provide. I also know the challenges bankers face as they work to meet customer needs while coping with unnecessary regulatory burden that makes it more difficult and complicated than necessary,” Otting said in his statement.

“In my experience, bankers support regulation, but effective regulation evolves with the changing needs of the nation and should be reviewed and modified as those needs change,” Otting continued. “As Comptroller, I look forward to enhancing the value of national bank and federal savings association charters, reducing unnecessary burden, and promoting economic opportunity while maintaining the safety and soundness of the federal banking system.”

As Otting notes, he is a “career banker.”

Prior to joining CIT Bank, Otting worked for U.S. Bank from 2001 and 2010. During that time, Otting served in various roles, including Oregon Market President, Executive Vice President, and East Region Commercial Banking Group Manager.

From 1986 to 2001, Otting held roles at Union Bank, which included Deputy Regional Vice President, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, and Group Head of Commercial Banking.

Otting began his career at Bank of America in branch management, preferred banking, and commercial lending.

In his statement, Otting said that during his time as a banker, he valued the role of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

“In my 35 years as a banker, I chose to be regulated by the OCC because I believed in the quality of its personnel and the value of the federal charter,” Otting said. “I slept better knowing the OCC was supervising my bank.”

Otting also provided more detail on his goals for the OCC during his time there.

“Job creation and economic growth are part of the President’s agenda, and banks can support those goals by providing capital and financial services to the consumers, business, and communities they serve,” Otting said.

“The nation needs the federal banking system to be safe and sound and to deliver its products and services in formats that are available to everyone,” Otting said.

“By doing so, the system will continue to be a source of strength for the economy and the nation,” Otting added. “Over the next five years, I will be proud to lead the dedicated personnel of the OCC and will work with fellow regulators to ensure our country has the most effective and respected banking system in the world.”

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