Christy Goldsmith Romero Is Front-Runner to Lead F.D.I.C.

Ms. Goldsmith Romero declined to comment for this article.

Republicans and Democrats both want a new leader for the bank regulator as soon as possible. Managers there were routinely sexually harassing junior employees and working to silence anyone who complained, according to reports last fall by The Wall Street Journal. The fact that Ms. Goldsmith Romero is a woman and a member of the L.G.B.T.Q. community — she is bisexual — is also seen as a plus, the people said, because she may be better able to build trust and restore morale among embattled junior employees.

And there’s another advantage to her candidacy: Ms. Goldsmith Romero has been unanimously confirmed by the Senate — twice. Her most recent confirmation, for the C.F.T.C. post, was in 2022, recently enough that the paperwork she submitted to the Senate as part of her nomination process, as well as the background check she underwent at the time, are likely to still be valid.

In Washington, the land of trial balloons, behind-the-scenes jockeying and temperature-taking, this counts as lightning speed. It’s what the White House and the Senate Banking Committee’s chairman, Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, have been aiming for in the bid to replace Martin Gruenberg, the F.D.I.C.’s current chair, in whom Mr. Brown said he no longer had confidence.

Mr. Brown wanted Mr. Gruenberg to resign, but not before a replacement was secured who could continue to carry out the Biden administration’s regulatory agenda. Had Mr. Gruenberg departed immediately, a Republican, Travis Hill, the F.D.I.C.’s current vice chair, would have become the agency’s leader and could have voted against proposed rules that the administration wants to put in place.

Once the White House announces the president’s choice, which could happen as soon as this week, according to one of the people, Mr. Brown will have to hold a hearing at which the nominee will testify. It could be Ms. Goldsmith Romero, but another woman, Kristin N. Johnson, also a C.F.T.C. commissioner, has also been considered, the two people said. The hearing will be followed by a vote on the nomination by the banking committee and then by the Senate as a whole.

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