McWilliams’ nominations as chair, member of FDIC Board up for Senate consideration

The Senate will consider the confirmation of Jelena McWilliams’ nominations as chairman and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Board Monday, under its “unanimous consent” calendar.

Jelena McWilliams testifies at a January hearing in the Senate Banking Committee on her nomination as FDIC Board chair.

McWilliams, whose nomination as chairman was made in December by President Donald Trump – and approved by the Senate Banking Committee January, would replace current holdover Chairman Martin Gruenberg. His term as chairman ended in November; under the FDIC Act, he has been able to remain as chairman until his successor is confirmed by the Senate. He remains a member of the FDIC Board in a term that ends this December.

If the Senate confirms her nomination (considered likely, since no opposition is expected as indicated by the consent calendar listing), McWilliams will serve a five-year term (ending in 2023).

The Senate will also vote on McWilliams’ nomination to be a member of the FDIC Board; she will succeed former FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, who stepped down from his seat late last month. Hoenig had also been serving as a holdover; his term ended in March. If McWilliams is approved for that seat (also considered highly likely), she will serve a six-year term (ending in 2024).

Her nomination to the seat held by Hoenig was a last-minute change by the White House in January. Originally, she had been nominated to fill a six-year term in the place of Jeremiah O’Hear Norton, who resigned in 2015 after serving three years on the board. But, on the evening of the day of her hearing before the Banking Committee, the White House changed plans, withdrew her nomination for the O’Hear seat, and resubmitted McWilliams’ nomination to the seat held by Hoenig.

Meanwhile, reports circulated this week that outgoing Chairman Gruenberg (a Democrat) has been recommended to be vice chair (taking Hoenig’s place) by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. The White House, according to other reports, has been cool to the recommendation.

McWilliams, 44, is now executive vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before that, she was chief counsel and deputy staff director for the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. She previously served as assistant chief counsel for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

Previously, she was an attorney at the Federal Reserve Board. She practiced corporate and securities law at Morrison & Foerster LLP in Palo Alto, Calif., and Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells LLP) in Washington, D.C.

She holds a B.S. in political science from the University of California (Berkeley); she earned her law degree from the U.C. Berkeley School of Law. She is a native of Belgrade, Serbia, and came to the United States as a teenager.

BIO: Jelena McWilliams