FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams today announced that she will resign from the agency on Feb. 4. Her resignation comes following a conflict among the FDIC’s directors over the powers of the agency’s chairman and board. Former FDIC Chairman and current board member Martin Gruenberg is expected to become acting chairman.
“When I immigrated to this country 30 years ago, I did so with a firm belief in the American system of government,” McWilliams said in her resignation letter to President Biden. “It has been a tremendous honor to serve this nation, and I did not take a single day for granted. Throughout my public service, I have been constantly reminded how blessed we are to live in the United States of America.”
ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols thanked McWilliams for her service. “In leading the FDIC since 2018, she has worked hard to build consensus around sound banking policies. Her efforts during the ongoing pandemic have allowed banks of all sizes to serve as a source of strength for the economy, while maintaining their commitment to safety and soundness,” he said. “We appreciate her willingness to listen to all stakeholders in addressing policy issues, and particularly appreciate her strong support for initiatives to reduce the number of unbanked Americans and promote financial inclusion.”
Late in 2021, following a purported notational vote, at least two other FDIC directors sought to release a request for information about the agency’s procedures for reviewing bank mergers, sidelining McWilliams as chairman. McWilliams and the FDIC’s general counsel argued that the agency’s chairman is in charge of the board’s agenda and the activities of the FDIC staff; in a December Wall Street Journal op-ed, McWilliams described the effort as “a hostile takeover of the FDIC internal processes, staff and board agenda.”