Tim Pawlenty resigning as CEO of Financial Services Roundtable after big bank shake-up

Rumored to be running for Minnesota governor again

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be stepping down from his position as CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable next month, the trade group announced Tuesday.

Pawlenty’s resignation comes on the heels of a big bank-led shake-up at the FSR, which reportedly saw the nation’s largest banks vote to shrink the group’s membership to preclude mid-size and smaller banks, along with payment companies, from being members of the group.

Politico reported earlier this year that the board of the FSR voted late last year to “pare down its membership only to banks with more than $25 billion in assets”

The move, reportedly led by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, cut the FSR’s membership nearly in half, decreasing from more than 80 members to just over 40, with the expulsion of insurers, asset managers, and some nonbanks.

Moynihan also serves as the chairman of the FSR board.

Included among the FSR’s membership are companies such as Capital One, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, US Bancorp, and Wells Fargo.

According to Politico, the driving force behind the move was the big banks’ desire to have a trade group that focused solely on their issues and lobbied on their behalf.

From Politico:

The change — driven by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and backed by large regional bank CEOs — represents a long-simmering desire by bigger lenders to have a trade association that focuses more specifically and more forcefully on their priorities, according to interviews with more than a dozen financial industry officials.

Representatives of many FSR members were caught off guard by the move, frustrating many in the insurance industry.

The group reached out to some CEOs ahead of time. But “we didn’t know what the board was going to decide,” Pawlenty said. “The broader membership wasn’t directly involved, but some of them were aware of it. Some of them may not have been.”

The Politico article also mentioned rumors that Pawlenty may be pursuing another run at the governorship of Minnesota. Pawlenty previously served as the state's governor from 2003 to 2011.

While the announcement from the FSR does not provide any details on Pawlenty’s next move, media in Minnesota speculated earlier this week that Pawlenty will enter the race.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune from earlier this week:

Enter ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty. In a fortuitous coincidence — if you believe in coincidence — Minnesota Public Radio reported on the same day as those bad GOP campaign finance results were released that Pawlenty would meet with donors and political types soon to assess a run for governor.

Pawlenty is still the last Republican to win a statewide race in Minnesota — in 2006 — and no one questions his ability to raise money after two terms as governor, a presidential run and years as a Wall Street lobbyist.

A GOP source said the plan is to gauge support and secure commitments from these donors to raise money quickly. Something on the order of $1 million would certainly convey seriousness. Doing so would make it very clear to the other Republican candidates what they’re up against and maybe persuade them to get out of the race.

Now, Pawlenty is set to leave the FSR behind.

“FSR is now poised to provide even more focused and effective service for our members going forward,” Pawlenty said in a statement. “Over the past five years, I have enjoyed leading FSR's efforts to improve cybersecurity, retirement savings, consumer-friendly financial service technology, and financial literacy.”

According to the announcement from the FSR, Pawlenty will leave the FSR in March.

“Tim will be really missed, but we are thankful for his effective and collegial leadership on behalf of the financial services industry which helps finance America’s economy and provide the financial infrastructure that every consumer uses every day,” Bank of America’s Moynihan said in a statement.

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