Ex-Treasury official Michael Barr set to head banking watchdog

President Joe Biden is expected to nominate former Treasury official Michael Barr to a top post scrutinising banks such as JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources.

Barr was assistant treasury secretary for financial institutions during Barack Obama’s administration. In that role he helped create the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, a wide-ranging overhaul of financial regulation that followed that 2008-9 global financial crisis.

Barr is expected to be appointed to the role of comptroller of the currency, regulating national banks and foreign banks within the US.

The White House did not comment to the WSJ and the US Treasury did not respond to requests for comment. Barr could not be immediately reached for comment by the WSJ.

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Barr is currently dean of public policy at the University of Michigan. He would succeed Brian Brooks who stepped down last week after about eight months in the role.

Other prospective financial regulatory picks include Rohit Chopra, Biden’s probable pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Gary Gensler, the nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Barr has been critical of the Trump administration’s moves to relax rules for large banks.

“We need to undo the damage caused by the last four years of policy,” he said last June, the WSJ reported. “Rebuilding a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and building resilience in the financial system with stronger capital and liquidity regulations, for example.”

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