Written by 20:49 Business

Biden’s Pick to Lead F.D.I.C. Faces Little Resistance in Senate Hearing

With a broad smile and crisply delivered answers, Christy Goldsmith Romero, President Biden’s nominee to take over the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, appeared to cruise through her Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Ms. Goldsmith Romero’s testimony, before the Senate Banking Committee, is the first step in a process that could put her in charge of the regulator that oversees smaller banks, administers the fund that protects bank depositors’ cash and steps in when a bank fails; it was recently roiled by revelations of widespread sexual harassment and abuse of junior employees by their longtime managers.

Over the course of the hearing on Thursday, Ms. Goldsmith Romero’s testimony drew praise not only from Democrats but also from some Republicans, suggesting that she was likely to be confirmed for the position.

Ms. Goldsmith Romero is a lawyer who, after the financial crisis, spent more than 12 years in an office created by Congress to investigate fraud and other misconduct by banks that received money from the government’s roughly $450 billion crisis rescue package. Her work exposing fraud often put her at odds with not only bankers but also some government officials who were concerned about the potential damage it would do to overall public opinion of the bailout.

She fielded questions on Thursday about whether she had enough experience to lead the F.D.I.C. and heal its culture, and what she would do about a hotly contested proposal by bank regulators to increase capital requirements on the biggest banks. She was also asked about how she would handle writing rules for banks given the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that removed a protection for federal regulators from legal challenges.

In the weeks leading up to the hearing, Republican lawmakers complained about various aspects of Ms. Goldsmith Romero’s candidacy. Many called for the current F.D.I.C. chair, Martin Gruenberg, a Democrat, to resign immediately and let the agency’s vice chair, Travis Hill, a Republican, take over. The highest-ranking Republican on the committee, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, reiterated that position on Thursday and questioned Ms. Goldsmith Romero’s qualifications for the role.

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Last modified: 11 July 2024
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