Brown has concerns about Trump pick for currency post

By Jessica Wehrman, Washington Bureau

Sen. Sherrod Brown says he’s concerned about President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Comptroller of the Currency.

Joseph Otting, former CEO of OneWest Bank, “contributed to the devastation” of the 2008 financial crisis, Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said during a hearing Thursday of the Senate Banking Committee, by “kicking seniors and families out of their homes, while pocketing $2.5 billion from the FDIC to protect his bank from these losses.”

The Ohio Democrat said Otting and his boss at OneWest, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, have not provided the Senate with information they requested about the number of families foreclosed upon in each state by OneWest. A Columbus Dispatch report found that nearly 2,000 Ohioans in the state’s six largest counties were foreclosed on by OneWest from 2009 to 2015.

“This is troubling,” Brown said. “If confirmed, Mr. Otting will be in charge of ensuring all national banks, including banks like Wells Fargo, are complying with the law, operating in a safe and sound manner, and protecting consumers.”

Brown also expressed concern about Trump’s nominee to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Randal Quarles. Quarles, he said, was Treasury’s Undersecretary for Domestic Finance in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis and in that role did not worry enough about a credit bubble, Brown said.

“While I appreciate both nominees’ willingness to enter public service, I do not think either nominee is the person we want in these important roles at our financial watchdogs,” he said, adding, “It is clear that today’s nominees have a great deal of experience working for banks — but that’s exactly the problem.”

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