Ex-Treasury Official Barr All But Ruled Out for OCC Post

Michael Barr, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, is no longer expected to be nominated to lead a regulator that oversees Wall Street’s biggest banks, according to people familiar with the matter.

President Joe Biden had homed in on Barr as his likely pick to run the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, but his candidacy faced a torrent of opposition from liberal Democrats. That resistance has likely ended Barr’s chances, said the people who asked not to be named because no decision has been announced.

Barr didn’t respond to a request for comment and the White House didn’t immediately respond.

Manny Alvarez, commissioner of the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, is in contention for the OCC post, according to a person familiar with the matter. Other candidates under consideration include University of California at Irvine law professor Mehrsa Baradaran, according to people familiar with the matter.

Barr, who helped write the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act while serving under Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is now dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. His post-Treasury career also included a stint as an outside adviser for Ripple Labs Inc. until 2017.

The OCC regulates the national banking operations of lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. The comptroller must be confirmed by the Senate.

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