The Treasury Department announced today that Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry would be stepping down from his post effective this Friday, May 5, 2017.  Keith Noreika, a Washington, D.C., banking lawyer who was part of President Trump’s transition team for Treasury, will be appointed First Deputy Comptroller of the Currency and will serve as Acting Comptroller until Mr. Curry’s permanent replacement is appointed and confirmed.  Mr. Curry’s five-year term as Comptroller expired in April, but he had continued in that position for the past month, pending the appointment of a replacement.

Mr. Noreika, currently a partner and head of the Financial Institutions Regulatory Practice at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, began his career at Covington where he was an associate and later a partner from 1998 until August 2016.  He maintained an active advisory practice and represented banks in litigation over preemption and other regulatory issues in Federal courts.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Administration is considering Joseph Otting, the former Chief Executive Officer of OneWest Bank, to serve as the next Comptroller.  The Administration is yet to formally announce Mr. Curry’s permanent replacement.

Mr. Noreika’s appointment as Acting Comptroller makes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) the first of the four major Federal bank regulators — i.e., the Federal Reserve, the OCC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — to be led by an appointee of the Trump Administration.  The Administration also has not yet appointed a replacement for Daniel Tarullo, who served during the Obama Administration as the point person for the Federal Reserve’s bank regulatory activities, but who resigned from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve in early April.