Confirmation hearing set for controversial comptroller nominee

A nomination confirmation hearing for Saule T. Omarova for a five-year term as comptroller of the currency – a somewhat controversial nominee – is set for Thursday by the Senate Banking Committee, according to a hearing notice filed Friday.

The hearing will be at 9:30 a.m. in the committee’s hearing room, 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Omarova, a Cornell University law professor, is a former special advisor for regulatory policy in the Treasury Department’s office of domestic finance, serving from 2006-07. Omarova has spent most of her career as an academic and lawyer studying and practicing financial regulatory law, according to a biography published by the White House.

Previously, she was the George R. Ward associate professor of law at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught courses at Georgetown University Law Center, the White House stated.

The White House said she also practiced law in the financial institutions group of the law firm Davis, Polk, & Wardwell, of New York, where she specialized in “a wide variety of corporate transactions and advisory work in the area of financial regulation,” according to the release.

She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a J.D. from Northwestern University in Chicago. She is a member of the New York Bar.

Omarova’s nomination has been met with skepticism from the banking industry. The American Bankers Association (ABA), for example, expressed concerns about Omarova’s stance on policy issues, including what the association described as her ideas for fundamentally restructuring the nation’s banking system. The ABA said her approach would “effectively nationalize America’s community banks, end regulatory tailoring based on risk and eliminate the dual banking system.”

Senate Banking Committee Hearing Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m. on nomination of Saule T. Omarova