Biden team lists transition ‘agency review teams’

(Nov. 13, 2020) An “agency review team” for federal financial regulators, including NCUA, to assist in the transition from the administration of President Donald Trump to that of President-elect Joe Biden will be led by a former leader of a commission that oversees the commodities markets, Biden’s transition office said this week.

The team includes no credit union representatives, at least so far.

Gary Gensler, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will lead the “Federal Reserve, Banking and Securities Regulators” agency review team. The teams, according to the description provided by the transition office of Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, are responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing Biden, Harris and their cabinet “to hit the ground running on Day One.”

The group headed by Gensler (most recently a senior advisor and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)) will cover NCUA, the Federal Reserve, FDIC, CFTC, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). (The OCC will be covered by a separate team looking at the Treasury Department.) The 14-member team does not include any members whose most recent employer is a credit union, credit union regulator or credit union-related group. Although that’s the case now, that could change in coming weeks as the teams begin setting up subgroups to look at specific agencies.

Another key agency review team announced this week: One looking at the CFPB, which will be headed by its former (and short-tenured) Deputy Director Leandra English. Most recently with the New York State Department of Financial Services as a special policy advisor (since January 2020), English will lead an eight-member team. There are no credit union representatives in that group. Bill Bynum of Hope Enterprises Corp. (and CEO of Hope FCU in Jackson, Miss.) is also a member of the team.

English was named deputy director of the bureau in 2017 by outgoing Director Richard Cordray; she had been chief of staff at the agency. In naming English, Cordray was effectively naming his successor since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) states that the deputy succeeds the director if that individual resigns or the position is vacant. Cordray resigned his office the same day (but after) he named English deputy director; she expected to become director.

However, later that day, Trump announced that he had appointed then-Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director John (“Mick”) Mulvaney to the additional job of acting director of the consumer bureau. A federal judge days later ruled that Mulvaney’s appointment was proper; a subsequent suit brought by English to overturn that ruling was unsuccessful. She left the agency in July.

Biden-Harris agency review teams