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There’s a Nasty Public Battle Raging Over Control of the Federal Agency that Insures Bank Deposits

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Jelena McWilliams, Chair of the FDIC

Jelena McWilliams, Chairwoman of the FDIC

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is the agency that prevents financial panics from turning into catastrophic runs on banks by providing taxpayer-backstopped and government guaranteed insurance on deposits, up to $250,000 per depositor. Its leadership and honest governance is thus critically important to every American. So when a nasty public brawl breaks out between the Board of Directors of the FDIC and its Chairwoman, Jelena McWilliams, every American needs to sit up and pay attention.

On Tuesday, Rohit Chopra, President Biden’s nominee who has been confirmed to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which automatically makes him a member of the Board of Directors of the FDIC, posted at the CFPB’s website serious charges against FDIC Chairwoman McWilliams – effectively stating that she was staging a one-woman coup against her Board and usurping their power to govern the FDIC. Chopra called what she was doing at the FDIC “unsafe and unsound” and “an attack on the rule of law.”

Always at the ready for anyone wanting to shill for mega bank interests, the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page quickly provided ample space for McWilliams to respond. At 6:30 p.m. last evening, it published McWilliams’ rebuttal to her Board members’ charges, which included this irrelevant but homespun tidbit about her arrival in America:

“When I arrived in the U.S. from Yugoslavia alone on my 18th birthday, I had $500 in my pocket.”

McWilliams was a Trump appointee. She took office as Chairwoman of the FDIC on June 5, 2018. She has a five-year term, which means she could attempt to continue her coup until June 5, 2023 unless her Board makes such a ruckus that she decides to resign.


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