Friday evening, the Trump-appointed chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Jelena McWilliams, announced to resign from her designation after a conflict with some board members over bank merger rules. She will step down from the agency more than one year before her term ends officially. Moreover, the agency insures American banks deposits and foreign financial institutions. The FDIC released the resignation letter of McWilliams, which states that she will resign on 4th February.
The Trump-appointed Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’ Chairwoman, Jelena McWilliams, resigns following a dispute with some Democratic board members. pic.twitter.com/Ker6I3T99R
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) January 1, 2022
The former bank executive and the attorney is resigning from her designation less than four years into a five-year term, which started in June 2018 after the confirmation of the Senate. She didn’t share a reason for her resignation and called her time at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s helm a tremendous honor and highlighted her professional career.
What will serve as acting FDIC’s chair until Trump’s appointment?
Martin Gruenberg, a Board member, will serve as acting chair of the agency until President Joe Biden, nominated successor to McWilliams and Senate, will confirm it. Gruenberg served on the board of directors of the FDIC for over fifteen years, and former Democratic President Barack Obama appointed him the board’s chair in 2012. The move gives Biden another opportunity to bolster his strength over bank regulation.
McWilliams wrote that FDIC focused on its underlying mission to maintain and deploy confidence in the banking system throughout her tenure. Today, banks maintain liquidity levels and robust capital to support lending and protect against possible losses. Her departure came after an FDIC board member, Rohit Chopra, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) new director, complained last month that McWilliams called the dispute a hostile takeover by other agency board members a blog post in the Wall Street Journal.
McWilliams mostly followed GOP ideological lines during her tenure. It made her something of a barrier to Democratic President Biden’s agenda, which involves shifting the stance of the federal government on significant issues such as income inequity and climate crisis. The Democratic leaders on the agency board, mainly known for supporting consumer deposits but having a hand in administrating all the banks of the United States, insisted that McWilliams was delaying efforts by the majority to set financial policy.
So, the bipartisan conflict atop the FDIC, which some experts believe may be a part of an effort by the Democratic party to overthrow McWilliams. Chopra and two other Democrats on the FDIC board – Michael J. Hsu, the interim comptroller of the currency, and Martin J. Gruenberg – voted over email to ask public comment on the bank merger issue.