Trump’s bank watchdog defends his stock trades to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A highly regarded U.S. banking regulator who bought financial stocks within the months before he was a regulator to the industry told lawmakers on Thursday that joggers investments were allowable and proper.

Joseph Otting is prohibited from buying U.S. bank stocks when the comptroller in the currency though the former banker did commit to the sector from the months between his nomination and swearing-in.

"I became in constant communication using the Treasury Department ethics department through this complete process," Otting told the Senate Banking Committee. "None of us had ever at any time eventually smiled and told me it’s improper or illegal."

Reuters reported the trades in April, dependant on financial disclosure documents filed with all the Office of presidency Ethics. Experts in U.S. government ethics standards told Reuters at the moment the fact that trading activity, whilst not illegal, would’ve violated the spirit of rules built to prevent conflicts interesting.

Sherrod Brown, the superior Democrat within the banking panel, said Otting had damaged the public's trust by purchasing more stocks in a sector that he involved to manage.

"I don't question your integrity here but maybe your judgment," said Brown. "You acquire stocks after you get appointed towards a job like this?"

Otting, merely formally nominated in June 2019 and took office in November, said he no knowledge of the particular trades given that they were handled by his broker.

He added that he or she would’ve were required to forego 10 months of investment opportunities had his broker halted trading over the nomination process.

FAIR LENDING

At a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, Otting said he’d no understanding of banks discriminating against minorities. At Thursday's hearing, he pulled back from those remarks and said racism exists from the lending industry.

"I have faith that you can find," Otting told Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from Nj-new jersey, who asked if there is racial bias while in the mortgage lending business.

Otting enforces fair lending laws as well as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which requires banks to provide credit in minority communities.

Otting said he wants the CRA that can help more poor communities and will punish banks that treat minorities unfairly – set up bank is not going to explicitly promote racism.

"There’s no doubt that you can find disparate impacts that happen in America," Otting said, discussing a lawful theory that lenders really should be punished when their lending coverage is not openly racist however hurt minorities.