President Biden Announces Two Nominations for the FDIC Board

09/21/22

President Joe Biden yesterday nominated Republicans to fill the two vacant seats on the five-member FDIC board of directors. The White House also said he’ll soon announce a nominee for chair of the board. Travis Hill, nominated to be vice chair, worked as a senior adviser to former FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams and was previously senior counsel on the Senate Banking Committee Republican staff. Jonathan McKernan, nominated to be a director, is a senior counsel at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, currently on detail to the Senate Banking Committee’s GOP staff, and worked at the Treasury Department and for Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

The FDIC Board by law cannot have more than three members from the same party, with two seats filled by the comptroller of the currency and the director of the CFPB. The move caught most inside the beltway by surprise as the nominations are likely not going to go anywhere until the President puts forward a Democratic nominee to be chair. That’s because their confirmation would effectively hand over control of the board to Republicans since, under FDIC bylaws, Travis Hill would automatically become acting chairman with no permanent Chair in place.

The announcement follows a bitter partisan fight at the board last year that eventually pushed out the Republican Chair Jelena McWilliams. With her resignation the FDIC board has been lead by three Democratic members with no GOP voices to add to board decisions and debates.