Consider the career of one Keith Noreika. At the beginning of the year, in addition to celebrating the ascent of a patently unfit lunatic to the highest office in the land, he was doing what he had done for the better part of two decades: representing giant banks. As such, there could have been no better choice for President Trump’s first bank regulator appointment. Now, whether the White House thought that Noreika was even more toxic than the guy they formally appointed to the job, Comptroller of the Currency, or whether Noreika was just doing his buddy Don a solid after serving on his transition team, is unclear. Either way, starting in May, Noreika was Acting Comptroller. And was he ever:
He was a provocative comptroller, questioning the policies of his predecessors, unilaterally rolling back rules, and displaying a “Make America Great Again” cap in his office.
He approved the first new national bank charter since the financial crisis, eased criteria for evaluating banks’ performance in serving lower-income communities, and rescinded guidance that had banned banks from offering short-term, high-cost loans—all areas where he could advise future clients.
All the while gleefully ignoring the rule that said, on account of his being a temporary government employee not subject to Senate approval, he could only do all of that rule-shredding for 130 days, which 130 days expired either on Sept. 12 or sometime in October, depending on how you count. No matter: Noreika just continued comptrolling the currency until Steve Mnuchin’s muscle was formally confirmed in the post in November.
Mr. Noreika will once again be a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, occupying the same office in Washington that he vacated to take the job of interim comptroller in May 2017….
He said he looks forward to helping banks navigate regulations and weighing in on debates about how new financial innovations, from bitcoin to online lending startups, should be regulated. “If people want my advice, I’m happy for it,” he said.