Jack Reed takes aim at the Comptroller of the CurrencyJune 23rd, 2011 at 9:50 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes
Senator Jack Reed is an ally of the Obama administration who doesn’t usually go out of his way to put the president in a tight spot, so this Wall Street Journal report looks like clear evidence of how unhappy Reed is about the way one senior bank regulator is doing his job:
On Tuesday, Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh said regulators are in danger of going too far to curb risk-taking by big banks. …
Three Senate Democrats – Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Carl Levin of Michigan and Jeff Merkley of Oregon – have publicly called for the White House to replace Mr. Walsh, a Republican, following his speech in London Tuesday.
The lawmakers were particularly rankled by Mr. Walsh’s statements that bank capital requirements – the cushion banks hold against future losses — are already “exceedingly high” and that regulators should be cautious about much more they require the largest banks to hold, something foreign and U.S. regulators are now negotiating.
“Mr. Walsh’s latest comments provide further evidence that he is not interested in leading an agency charged with ensuring the safety and soundness of our financial institutions,” Mr. Reed said in a statement. Mr. Reed, a senior member of the Senate Banking panel which oversees the OCC, went on to call for the Obama administration “to fundamentally re-think the OCC’s leadership and ensure that American taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s misdeeds.”
The comptroller’s office came in for tough criticism during the tenure of its previous chief, John Dugan, for frequently siding with the banks it regulated instead of consumers.