Renomination of NCUA leader puts small dent into longer list of regulator openings

President Joe Biden’s (D) “intent to nominate” NCUA Board Chairman Todd Harper to a term ending in 2027 (and continue as chairman) puts one dent into the long list of financial regulator positions that still need to be filled.

Still, there’s no indication for now that more dents in the list are to come, as only one nomination other than Harper’s has been made to date.

Late Friday (Aug. 6), Biden issued a statement that he intends to nominate Harper to the six-year term that ends in 2027. Harper is currently serving in a holdover capacity as the term he was serving ended in April. Harper was confirmed by the Senate to that term (which was a six-year term for a seat previously filled by former NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz, who resigned in 2016) in March 2019.

Democrat Harper became chairman of the credit union regulator board in January (after being designated so by the newly inaugurated Biden), succeeding Republican Rodney Hood (who was designated chairman by President Donald Trump [R]).

If confirmed, Harper would immediately snare the longest tenure of the three current members of the NCUA Board: now-Member Hood’s term ends two years from now (August 2023); the term of Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman (also a Republican nominee) ends in August 2025.

By naming Harper to a new term – which is subject to Senate confirmation – the Biden administration is attempting to fill permanently (that is, not in an acting or holdover capacity) one of five empty or expired financial regulators’ terms. Four of those are still seeking a nominee to fill the seat permanently. Those are:

  • Comptroller of the Currency (now filled by Acting Comptroller Michael J. Hsu);
  • Vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) board (now vacant);
  • Member of the Federal Reserve Board (now vacant);
  • Member of the FDIC Board (now held by Martin Gruenberg, serving in a holdover capacity since December 2018).

No one has been nominated to permanently fill any of those vacant, acting, or holdover positions.

A sixth position, for a permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), has a nominee – Rohit Chopra, now a member of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Chopra’s nomination was recommended to the full Senate by tied vote (12-12) in March. The nomination, for a five-year term, now awaits action by the Senate; no vote has yet been scheduled. In the meantime, Dave Uejio has been filling the seat – but his days at the helm of the bureau may be numbered. On Aug. 5, Uejio appeared before the Senate Banking Committee for a confirmation hearing on his nomination to be assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

And there is more to come for the Federal Reserve. Federal Reserve Board Gov. Randal Quarles’ term as vice chair for supervision ends in October; the president is obligated to nominate someone to fill that position (although Quarles may continue to hold the position until a nomination is made). His term as a board member runs to 2032; he was appointed to both positions by Trump.

The term of Vice Chair Richard Clarida (as a board member) ends Jan. 31 of next year; a Trump appointee, he joined the board in 2018.

Finally, what many consider the biggest financial regulator decision for the Biden administration comes up in February: replace or keep Fed Chair Jerome H. (“Jay”) Powell, whose term ends that month. Powell was named chair of the seven-member board in 2017 (and took office in 2018). His current term as a board member runs to Jan. 31, 2028.

White House Aug. 6 intention to nominate notice

Regulators/boards; names, positions, term expirations