FDIC Chairman Resigns Over Allegations of Democrats’ Attempted “Hostile Takeover”

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. President Jelena McWilliams resigned on Friday, weeks after describing a dispute with Democrats at the head of the independent agency as an attempt at a “hostile takeover.”

Why is this important: President Biden will be able to choose a replacement for Trump-appointed McWilliams, whose term is not due to end until June 2023. The agency provides deposit insurance to all US banks and is one of three federal regulators overseeing the system American banking.

The context: The three-member Democratic majority voted in December to accept public comment on any changes to the FDIC’s bank merger approval process.

  • McWilliams rejected an attempt by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Rohit Chopra, who sits on the five-member FDIC board of directors, to add a record of the vote to the official FDIC minutes.
  • McWilliams is the only Republican on the board, who has another vacant seat. She did not participate in the vote and the agency subsequently released an official statement contesting the validity of the action.

To note: McWilliams did not refer to the incident in his resignation letter.

  • “When I immigrated to this country 30 years ago, I did so with a firm belief in the American system of government,” wrote McWilliams, who was born in the former Yugoslavia.
  • “It has been a huge honor to serve this nation, and I haven’t taken a single day for granted,” she added.

And after: FDIC board member Martin Gruenberg, whose term expired three years ago, will become interim chairman on February 4.

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