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Former Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika returns to private practice

Rejoining law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

Now that his stint as comptroller of the currency is over, Keith Noreika is returning the law firm where he worked before taking over at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency back in May.

Noreika joined the OCC as acting comptroller of the currency in May, when Thomas Curry announced that he was stepping down.

Noreika stepped down from the OCC in November after the Senate confirmed Curry’s permanent replacement, Joseph Otting.

Noreika joined the OCC from the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was a partner. Now, Noreika is returning to Simpson Thacher as a partner in the firm’s financial institutions practice.

During his time at the OCC, Noreika made quite a few waves, including publicly battling with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over the agency’s arbitration rule.

Congress eventually overturned the rule using the Congressional Review Act, a move that Noreika welcomed.

“Today, President Trump protected consumers and small and midsize banks by repealing a rule that would have cost millions, paved a path to expensive frivolous lawsuits, and lined the pockets of trial lawyers,” Noreika said when the rule was officially overturned.

“The action is a victory for consumers and small and midsize banks across the country because it stops a rule that likely would have significantly increased the cost of credit for hardworking Americans and taken away a valuable tool for resolving differences among banks and their customers,” Noreika added.

With Otting in place at the OCC, Noreika is rejoining Simpson Thacher, where he will focus his practice on banking regulation and related litigation.

“We are delighted to welcome Keith back to the firm,” said Bill Dougherty, chairman of Simpson Thacher’s executive committee. “Our financial institutions practice has long been recognized as one of the best in the industry. Keith’s return to the firm will enhance our ability to serve our financial institution clients around the world.”

Noreika will “advise a wide range of domestic and international financial institutions on regulatory issues relating to mergers and acquisitions, minority investments, capital issuances, structuring and compliance activities and litigation matters, particularly in the area of federal preemption,” the firm said in an announcement.

Lee Meyerson, head of the firm’s financial institutions practice, touted Noreika’s experience as an asset to the firm’s clients.

“Keith will provide our clients a unique perspective on the rapidly changing world of financial services regulation. His knowledge and insights will assist our clients in managing complex regulatory issues and expanding their operations through mergers, capital markets activities and business line investments, including fintech,” Meyerson said. “His years of valuable litigation and investigations experience will continue to be an added asset.”

In a statement, Noreika said that he is “pleased” to return to Simpson Thacher.

“While I was proud to have had the opportunity to serve our country as the Acting Comptroller of the Currency over the past year, I am now eager to help clients with the spectrum of issues they face as they explore opportunities for their organizations, employees and shareholders and ultimately benefit the economy more broadly,” Noreika added.

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