President Joe Biden is pushing to nominate Cornell University Law School professor Saule Omarova to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a move that could happen as soon as this week, Bloomberg reported on Thursday (Sept. 23), citing three unnamed sources.
Omarova is an outspoken critic of traditional banking and cryptocurrency and has called for the government to play a larger and more active role in the country’s financial services sector. As head of the OCC, she would monitor the country’s biggest banks and implement rules regarding FinTech startups and cryptocurrency firms.
Quoted as saying she wants to “end banking as we know it,” as head of the OCC, Omarova is anticipated to go after more rigorous rules and take an aggressive stance on industry oversight. Among her viewpoints is taking consumer banking from the private sector and transferring control to the Federal Reserve.
She also wrote a paper in favor of restructuring the Federal Reserve and recommended that the agency provide consumer bank accounts, a move she said will better serve consumers and make the entire financial system “less complex, more stable and more efficient.”
Skeptical about FinTech firms and digital currencies, Omarova has said that she doesn’t see the consumer benefits companies claim to offer.
“What we should be really thinking about is, what should we do to shift that balance and have the Fed and have the Treasury and have maybe other public institutions maybe take a greater part in the infrastructure itself, in the provision of financial services,” she told Politico. “We need to bring more adults into the room, the adults meaning the public.”
A native of Kazakhstan, Omarova would be the first woman and person of color officially named to run the OCC.
News of Omarova’s probable nomination comes as Jerome Powell’s post as chair of the Federal Reserve hangs in limbo awaiting Biden’s reappointment nod.