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Big Banks

Federal Agencies are Obstacles to Trump’s Plans for Overhauling Wall Street Rules

June 15, 2017

by Howard Haykin


You think Donald Trump feels stymied by the multiple investigations being conducted by Special Counsel Mueller? Wait and see his reaction when his administration attempts to loosen Wall Street banking rules.


Donald Trump has huuuge plans for overhauling Wall Street bank regulations. But to execute his agenda, senior officials have to be installed in key regulatory posts. And that ‘ain’t gonna happen’ any time soon, Let’s survey the field.


FEDERAL RESERVE.    Donald Trump has yet to name his choice for the Fed’s top bank regulator – thought to be Randal Quarles, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration. Yet, before he can assume that position, Quarles must be vetted by the FBI and the Office of Government Ethics, and then confirmed by the Senate. Likely start date – Fall 2017.


OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY.    The OCC is currently being run by Keith Noreika. Joseph Otting was nominated earlier this month for the top spot, but his confirmation hearings are likely to be contentious – owing to his time as an executive at OneWest Bank and that firm’s foreclosure practices.


COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION.    Christopher Giancarlo, the acting chairman of the CFTC, is awaiting full confirmation before he can take on the role full-time.


FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION.    Martin Gruenberg, an Obama appointee, intends to serve his full term, which expires in November. In the meantime, Treasury's plans to ease some of the restrictions around banks' trading, living wills and their adherence to international banking accords could face resistance from him, given his role in drafting many existing rules.


CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU.    Richard Cordray, Obama-appointed director, also intends to serve his full term, which runs until summer 2018. The CFPB, created in the wake of the financial crisis, receives its funding through the Federal Reserve and Trump can only fire Cordray "for cause," an almost impossible standard to meet. Cordray’s cooperation is needed to implement many of the Treasury’s recommendations for overhauling mortgage rules – and that is unlikely..