Biden chooses Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Romero to replace Gruenberg as FDIC head

Christy Goldsmith Romero, the special inspector general for the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or SIGTARP, at the federal courthouse in New York, July 26, 2016. Romero said bank fraud at all levels still needs to be addressed. (Nicole Craine/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday said he would nominate Christy Goldsmith Romero to be chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to replace the embattled Martin Gruenberg.

Romero, a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, would take over an agency that has been in the spotlight for months due to allegations of a toxic workplace culture. In a May 20 statement, Gruenberg said he would step down as soon as a replacement is confirmed by the Senate.


Romero is one of two CFTC officials included among four nominees announced by the White House. Kristin N. Johnson, who also is a CFTC commissioner, will be nominated as assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions. The president also plans to nominate Gordon I. Ito as a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and to renominate Caroline A. Crenshaw as a Securities and Exchange Commission member.

Gruenberg’s announcement that he would leave the FDIC followed an independent investigation commissioned by the agency. The probe found that the “FDIC has failed to provide a workplace safe from sexual harassment, discrimination and other interpersonal misconduct,” the agency said in a May 7 statement. The investigation confirmed earlier reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

Prior to the CFTC, Romero worked for 12 years at the Treasury Department. Among her roles there was special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was created during the financial crisis. She also has been counsel to two former SEC chairs and worked in the agency’s enforcement arm.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, praised Romero’s selection and urged the chamber to move quickly on the nomination.

“Christy Goldsmith Romero, who has been unanimously confirmed by the Senate twice, would bring to the FDIC decades of financial services experience, including valuable experience as the special inspector general protecting taxpayers at the Troubled Asset Relief Program,” Brown said in a statement.

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