ABA Raises Concerns about OCC Nominee’s Views on Bank Policy

President Biden yesterday announced that he will nominate Saule Omarova to serve as comptroller of the currency. Currently a professor at Cornell Law School, Omarova has been a banking attorney and previously served in the Treasury Department.

Over the course of her career, Omarova has advocated for a number of policies that would dramatically transform the bank regulatory landscape. She has previously proposed—among other things—that community banks “pass through” their deposits to the Federal Reserve, undermining the valuable role community banks play in their communities; to abolish the FDIC as deposit insurer and supervisor of state chartered institutions, effectively ending the dual banking system; and to break up regional and large banking organizations.

American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols expressed concerns about Omarova’s stance on these substantive policy issues. “While we recognize the historic nature of Dr. Omarova’s nomination to serve as comptroller of the currency and her impressive personal journey, we believe it is incumbent on Senators to rigorously examine her views on substantive banking policy issues as they would with any nominee to a position of this importance,” Nichols said. “We have serious concerns about her ideas for fundamentally restructuring the nation’s banking system which remains the most diverse and competitive in the world. Her proposals to effectively nationalize America’s community banks, end regulatory tailoring based on risk and eliminate the dual banking system are particularly troubling.”

Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) yesterday afternoon also expressed “serious reservations” about Omarova, claiming that she “has called for ‘radically reshaping the basic architecture and dynamics of modern finance’ including nationalizing retail banking and having the Federal Reserve allocate credit. She has also advocated for ‘effectively end[ing]banking as we know it.’”