White House Nominates Two Republican FDIC Board Members, Plans to Nominate Permanent Leader in Coming Weeks

Sep 30, 2022Federal Regulation, News

Last week President Joe Biden nominated two Republicans to fill minority party positions on the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), and said he will soon nominate a permanent chair for the regulatory agency. Travis Hill, former FDIC policy chief, has been nominated to be vice chair, and Jonathan McKernan, senior counsel at the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been nominated as a member of the board.

“These two FDIC board nominations will move with our forthcoming Chair nomination in a bipartisan fashion as we have done for several other boards and commissions,” said a White House official, according to American Banker. A subsequent American Banker article described the decision as “puzzling” and said it “set off waves of surprise throughout financial policy circles.”

Since February, Martin Gruenberg has served as acting chairman of the FDIC, but has not been nominated as permanent chair. According to the FDIC’s bylaws, the vice chair spot that Hill has been nominated for should take over leadership of the corporation if there is no confirmed chair.

The nominees would fill out the two seats that go to the minority party on the five-person board, including the chair and the vice chair, although it’s unlikely that the Senate Banking Committee would move the nominations until there was a Democratic nominee. The other positions are held by the Comptroller of the Currency and the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will lead the first round of vetting to advance the nominees to the full Senate, and said that he looks “forward to reviewing and evaluating these nominees’ qualifications and experience to determine if they are the right fit for the FDIC.”

Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) showed support for the nominees, saying that McKernan is “highly qualified” to serve on the FDIC’s board and that Hill “played a critical role at the agency,” when Jelena McMilliams was the FDIC chair.

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