Comptroller candidate bows out after harsh reception

(Dec. 10, 2021) A new candidate for a permanent appointment as comptroller of the currency will have to be found by the Biden Administration after the most-recent nominee, Saule T. Omarova, bowed out of consideration.

In a letter, Omarova said she appreciated President Joe Biden’s (D) nomination of her to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), but wrote that “at this point in the process, however, it is no longer tenable for me to continue as a Presidential nominee.”

Omarova, a Cornell University law professor and veteran of the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush (R ), had proven to be a controversial nominee to lead the federal bank regulator. Industry opposition was intense (based on some of her past writings that included suggesting the Federal Reserve consider offering some banking services), and her nomination ran into particular trouble during a hearing last month before the Senate Banking Committee, where she faced intense questioning from Republican senators, described as rude and condescending by some.

Biden accepted the withdrawal but took notice of the opposition Omarova faced. “Unfortunately, from the very beginning of her nomination, Saule was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond the pale,” Biden said in a statement.

For the time being (and until a new nominee is found), the OCC will continue to be led by Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu, who this week named a new chief of staff (Lauren Oppenheimer).


Withdrawal sent to the Senate