By a vote of 54-43, Joseph Otting has been confirmed by the Senate as Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. Otting is a former president and CEO of California-based OneWest Bank, where he worked with Steven Mnuchin, who now serves as Secretary of the Treasury.
According to Politico, Acting Comptroller Keith Noreika has submitted his resignation, to be effective one business day after Mr. Otting takes office. Politico also reported that because Mr. Noreika has been working at the OCC as a “special government employee,” he can return to the private sector without any mandated waiting period.
Mr. Otting has not yet taken a public position on the OCC’s special purpose national bank (SPNB) charter proposal. However, we would expect Mr. Otting to pursue the same policy objectives as those pursued by Mr. Noreika. While serving as Acting Comptroller, Mr. Noreika stated several times that the OCC is continuing to consider the proposal and intends to defend its authority to grant an SPNB charter to a nondepository company in the lawsuits filed by the NY Department of Financial Services and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. He also has been dismissive of the argument made by opponents of the SPNB charter that it may lead to an inappropriate mixing of banking and commerce and questioned the continuing need for the current barriers between banking and commerce in recent comments.