President Biden to Appoint an Anti-Crypto and Anti-Big Bank Law Professor as the OCC Head

Kavya  |  Sep 23, 2021

According to reports, the Biden administration wants to appoint Kazakhstani-American law professor and former policy advisor Saule Omarova to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates the United States' banking sector.

Law Professor Saule Omarova to Head the OCC

Omarova has previously criticized both crypto assets and the conventional banking industry, pledging to end banking as we know it.

She described cryptocurrencies as “primarily helping the broken, financial system we now have.”

According to a Bloomberg article published on September 22 that cited three unnamed individuals familiar with the nomination process, Saule Omarova may be nominated as soon as this week. 

Saule Omarova, who is currently a law professor at Cornell University Law School, is expected to seek stricter rules for crypto, describing the sector as a threat to economic stability and ripe of abuse by large private financial entities. 

The professor is an expert in banking law and business finance. 

If approved, Saule Omarova’s stay at the OCC would mark a dramatic departure from the previous administration, which saw former Coinbase legal officer and crypto advocate Brian Brooks led the agency near the conclusion of Trump’s presidency. 

Saule Omarova has also called for the Federal Reserve to solely oversee consumer banking services rather than private organizations, offering radical prescriptions for the financial system. 

Previously, under former President George W. Bush's administration, she worked as a senior advisor for regulatory policy at the US Treasury Department.

Analysts predict Saule Omarova will not be appointed to the OCC without a struggle, given that Democrats presently control a narrow majority in the Senate. Moreover, the banking industry is anticipated to push against her appointment.

If appointed, Saule Omarova would be the first woman to formally manage the agency, even though the OCC has been led by a female interim head in the past.

The Biden Administration Screening for the Job Began in August

According to the New York Times, the Biden administration began evaluating Saule Omarova for the job in early August.

The Democrats had earlier considered former Treasury official Michael Barr and law professor Mehra Baradaran for the position, but they were eliminated when the Democrats determined that neither candidate would receive enough support to gain confirmation.

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