Amid ‘whiplash’ at OCC, Hsu anticipates to serve for ‘foreseeable future’

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu anticipates to be in his function for the “foreseeable future,” he informed firm workers in an internal e-mail acquired by American Banker.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has actually lacked a Senate-validated leader because Joseph Otting left in May 2020. Hsu, a longtime Federal Reserve authorities, was called acting head one year later on.

Last November, President Biden chosen Saule Omarova, a Cornell law teacher, to head the firm, however she withdrew her name the following month in the middle of attacks from congressional Republicans and banking market agents.

“When I have asked,” Acting Comptroller composed in an e-mail to OCC workers, “the words ‘whiplash’ and ‘pendulum’ and ‘see-saw’ have been used to describe how the continual changes in leadership have felt.”

Ting Shen/Bloomberg

Since then, the White House hasn’t drifted any brand-new names to lead the firm.

“My hope and expectation is that I will remain in this role for the foreseeable future,” Hsu stated in a May 10 e-mail to OCC workers. 

The OCC decreased to comment. The White House did not return an ask for remark.

In May, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the leading Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, asserted that under the Vacancies Reform Act, Hsu would be disqualified to work as acting comptroller beyond July 5, 2022.

But Hsu composed in a reaction to McHenry that the Vacancies Reform Act does not use to his consultation. In a formerly unreported letter, Hsu kept in mind that he was selected under a statute that defines the very first deputy comptroller acts as acting comptroller when the position is uninhabited.

Hsu’s May 10 e-mail to OCC staffers mentions unpredictable sensations within the firm about numerous management modifications over the last 5 years. He stated the firm is presently at an “interesting point.”

“You have worked under multiple Comptrollers and Acting Comptrollers over the past five years, while enduring ever greater scrutiny by the public,” Hsu composed to OCC workers.

“When I have asked, the words ‘whiplash’ and ‘pendulum’ and ‘see-saw’ have been used to describe how the continual changes in leadership have felt.” 

Hsu likewise stated that he’s been keeping his focus at the OCC on “problems that any Comptroller or Acting Comptroller would need to address to safeguard trust long-term in the national banking system.”

“Safety and soundness and fairness in banking are not political issues. They require objectivity, technical expertise, sensemaking and sound judgment to do well consistently. These are traits that you have in spades,” he composed.

During his time at the OCC, Hsu has actually voted to reassess the manner in which bank regulators think about mergers, and has actually discussed worry about big local bank mergers. A partisan clash on the concern of mergers resulted in the resignation of Trump appointee Jelena McWilliams as chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., where Hsu is a board member.

In his e-mail, Hsu revealed pride in numerous OCC achievements throughout his very first year as acting comptroller. Those products consist of deal with overdraft charge reform, stablecoins and environment danger management. Hsu likewise indicated interagency work the OCC has actually done to revamp the Community Reinvestment Act.

Looking ahead, Hsu stated that the firm is “getting ready for unique bank charter applications and dealing with our interagency peers to more plainly specify the bank regulative border and avoid a race to the bottom.”


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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