President Donald Trump is considering two former employees of controversial mortgage lender OneWest to his administration, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and CNBC.
OneWest, which was purchased under the name IndyMac by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s investment firm, has been criticised by Democrats and advocacy groups for aggressive foreclosure processes following the financial crisis.
Joseph Otting, the former CEO of OneWest, is being considered to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to the Journal. The comptroller office is the section of the US Treasury responsible for overseeing banks in the US.
Otting was CEO of OneWest from 2010, the year after the lender was acquired by Mnuchin’s group, until 2015, when the bank was acquired by CIT Group.
The slots would have to be confirmed by the Senate. If confirmed, Otting would serve a five-year term. The term of the current comptroller, Thomas Curry, expires in April.
Given Otting’s background at OneWest, it is likely that his hearing would be similar to that of Mnuchin. The Treasury secretary faced questions regarding practices at OneWest, such as robo-signing foreclosure documents and the higher level of foreclosures at the lender than other banks.
In addition to adding Otting to the Treasury team, CNBC reported that former OneWest general counsel Brian Brooks was being considered to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While the current director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray, is not supposed to leave the agency until 2018, there has been rampant speculation that the Trump administration will try to push him out before the end of his term.
The CFPB was created after the financial crisis to provide additional oversight for financial institutions. For example, the CFPB was one of three regulators that fined Wells Fargo in September for the creation of up to 2 million accounts without the knowledge of consumers.
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