Biden Taps Christy Goldsmith Romero as New FDIC Chair

Time 3 Minute Read
June 14, 2024
Legal Update

On June 13, President Biden announced that he would nominate Christy Goldsmith Romero to chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), replacing current FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg. Goldsmith Romero is a democratic commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), a role she has served in for the past two years.

Goldsmith Romero started her career in private practice, where she was a commercial litigator at several firms before transitioning to the public sector in 2003. Goldsmith Romero began her governmental role as an attorney in the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and subsequently became counsel to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro and Charmain Christopher Cox, where she served as a liaison to SEC commissioners and staff. 

Amid the financial crisis in 2009, Goldsmith Romero transferred to the U.S. Treasury Department where she spent more than a decade as Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”). In that role, Goldsmith Romero led a nationwide federal law enforcement agency watchdog over TARP, a program where the US government became a shareholder in banks, the automotive industry, and the insurance industry in order to increase the liquidity in the money market and reduce the potential losses of financial institutions. Goldsmith Romero oversaw hundreds of investigations and charges brought against those in the financial industry, including more than 100 bankers. Throughout her time as Special Inspector General, Goldsmith Romero testified before Congress multiple times, including on the Hardest Hit Fund, an offshoot program of TARP, executive pay during the financial crisis, and the auto bailout.

In September 2021, Goldsmith Romero was nominated by President Biden and sworn in as CFTC Commissioner in March of 2022. In her time at the CFTC, Goldsmith Romero continued her career of enforcement by proposing a Heightened Enforcement Accountability and Transparency Test, which requires more defendants to admit to wrongdoing in settlements. The proposal was approved by CFTC’s Enforcement Division in October 2023. Goldsmith Romero has additionally focused on emerging issues in the financial industry, and has spoken on topics including cybercrime and resilience, responsible artificial intelligence, and the role of the law and regulators in these growing markets. She has also taught similar topics, including when she served as an adjunct professor on cryptocurrency regulation at the University of Virginia Law School from 2020 to 2022.

Goldsmith Romero will need to be confirmed by the Senate, a process that she has already been through twice, as both Special Inspector General of TARP and CFTC Commissioner require Senate confirmation. Given that she is a seasoned veteran of Senate confirmation hearings and a known entity in this regard, it is possible that her confirmation will be a fairly smooth process. Moreover, Goldsmith Romero was unanimously confirmed by a voice vote in her first two hearings in both 2012 and 2022.

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