Merkley: New Leadership Needed at OCC

Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today urged President Obama to appoint a new head to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), a position held for the past several year by Acting Comptroller John Walsh.  Merkley’s comments came in response to recent statements from Walsh that criticize hard fought reforms passed in the wake of the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression.

“The OCC has a key role in protecting consumers, small businesses, and our broader economy from Wall Street’s addiction to placing high-risk bets.  Indeed, it is the OCC’s job to keep commercial banks focused on their core business of providing the loans to families and businesses that are essential to the success of our economy.  If people want to run a hedge fund, that’s fine.  But the hedge fund doesn’t belong inside our banks.

“Mr. Walsh demonstrated once again that he just doesn’t get it.  He persists in arguing for the minimal capital standards and lax regulation that brought down our entire economy in 2008.  It is time – way past time – for the President to nominate a leader for the OCC who is committed to building a solid long-term foundation for our economy.”