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FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams announced her resignation Friday in an open letter addressed to President Biden, just weeks after she warned of a “hostile takeover” of the agency by Democrats.
McWilliams, a Serbian immigrant, has lived in the country for decades and boasts a successful career in law, finance, and banking policy.
“When I immigrated to this country 30 years ago, I did so with a firm belief in the American system of government,” McWilliams wrote in the letter.
“During my tenure at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the United States Senate, and the FDIC, I have developed a deep appreciation for these venerable institutions and their traditions.”
UNITED STATES – MAY 16: Jelena McWilliams, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Rayburn Building titled “Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness and Accountability of Megabanks and Other Depository Institutions,” on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
She continued, “Throughout my tenure, the agency has focused on its fundamental mission to maintain and instill confidence in our banking system while at the same time promoting innovation, strengthening financial inclusion, improving transparency, and supporting community banks and minority depository institutions, including through the creation of the Mission Driven Bank Fund.”
McWilliams was appointed to the position in 2018 under former President Trump. Her resignation will be effective Feb. 4.
McWilliams did not provide a direct reason for her resignation in her letter to the president. However, she previously published a December op-ed in which she described a “hostile takeover” of the FDIC by Democrats.
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 03: Chairman of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Jelena McWilliams testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee at Dirksen Senate Office Building August 3, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “Oversight of Regulators: Does our Financial System Work for Everyone?” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
“Of the 20 chairmen who preceded me at the FDIC, nine faced a majority of the board members from the opposing party, including Mr. Gruenberg as chairman under President Trump until I replaced him as chairman in 2018,” McWilliams wrote in her op-ed. “Never before has a majority of the board attempted to circumvent the chairman to pursue their own agenda.”
“This conflict isn’t about bank mergers. If it were, board members would have been willing to work with me and the FDIC staff rather than attempt a hostile takeover of the FDIC internal processes, staff and board agenda.”