Biden to nominate Christy Goldsmith Romero as FDIC chair after abrupt departure of predecessor

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden will nominate Christy Goldsmith Romero to replace Martin Gruenberg as head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The announcement from the White House on Thursday came after Gruenberg’s tenure became marred by allegations of workplace abuse that led to him to resign.

A longtime financial regulator, Goldsmith Romero is currently a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the nation’s financial derivatives regulator. She previously worked with the Department of Treasury and was part of the team that handled the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which lent $700 billion to troubled banks during the 2008 financial crisis. She also is a law professor at Georgetown University.

Her previous nominations to the nation's financial regulators were unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

“She has proven herself to be a strong, independent, and fair regulator who is not afraid to do what’s right," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and chair of the Senate Banking Committee, in a statement.

Gruenberg last month said he would resign from the FDIC, after an independent report by law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton found incidents of stalking, harassment, homophobia and other violations of employment regulations, based on more than 500 complaints from employees.

Complaints included a woman who said she was stalked by a coworker and continually harassed even after complaining about his behavior; a field office supervisor referring to gay men as “little girls;” and a female field examiner who described receiving a picture of an FDIC senior examiner’s private parts.

Republicans have been calling for Gruenberg to step down since the allegations emerged late last year. The White House and Gruenberg resisted those calls partly because the FDIC is led by a five member board, and his resignation would pass control of the agency to the FDIC's vice chair, who is a Republican. Gruenberg's resignation would not be official until Goldsmith Romero nomination is finalized.

“FDIC employees deserve a safe workplace that allows them to focus on their important mission to safeguard our country’s financial security. Unfortunately, under the leadership of Chairman Gruenberg, that hasn’t been the case,” said Sen. Tim Scott, the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee, in a statement.

The FDIC is one of several U.S. banking system regulators. The Great Depression-era agency is best known for running the nation’s deposit insurance program, which insures Americans’ deposits up to $250,000 in case their bank fails.