Key US bank regulator to step down next month
WASHINGTON — The top regulator of the largest US banks will leave office when his term expires next month.
John Dugan, comptroller of the currency, a Bush appointee, and a former bank lobbyist, plans to depart the job Aug. 14. He revealed his plans yesterday in a letter to President Obama.
Dugan runs the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees national banks and US divisions of foreign banks. It regulates the largest Wall Street retail banks, as well as 1,500 smaller institutions. Banks overseen by the office control more than half the banking assets in the industry.
In the letter to Obama, Dugan said his agency deserves credit for helping to stabilize the banking system after its worst crisis in generations.
He cites the office’s role in administering stress tests to some of the biggest banks. The tests were meant to show whether banks had enough money to withstand a deeper recession.
The tests were successful in soothing the financial markets after months of white-knuckle swings. They helped reassure investors that banks were safe and the worst of the crisis was over.
Dugan has been criticized for pushing policies that benefit the financial industry at the expense of consumers. He blocked states’ attempts to crack down on abusive lending by national banks.
His concern: It would be too costly and confusing for banks to follow many different sets of rules.
That argument is popular among bank lobbyists seeking to weaken proposed regulations.