FDIC member may get top bank regulator job

By Dave Clarke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration might nominate Federal Deposit Insurance Corp member Thomas Curry to oversee the largest banks as the next comptroller of the currency, according to a person informed about the deliberations.

Curry is a former Massachusetts state banking regulator and is a member of the FDIC board, a position that he has held since January 2004.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency regulates the nation's largest banks and the top job at the agency has been vacant since August when John Dugan left the post.

A spokesman for Curry said he declined to comment. The White House also declined to comment.

The New York Times first reported late Thursday that Curry is under consideration for the OCC opening.

Curry joined the FDIC in 2004 after serving as the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks for several years.

The OCC oversees national banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

Some members of Congress and consumer groups criticized the agency for not being a tough enough regulator in the lead-up to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair is leaving the job on July 8 and the administration is expected to nominate Martin Gruenberg, the number two official at the agency, to replace her.

The new consumer bureau opens its doors on July 21 and Democrats are pushing the administration to nominate Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren for the job.

Warren is leading the effort to set up the agency as an adviser to the president and the Treasury Department.

Date, a former banker and advocate for the new agency, is a senior official at the bureau.

Nominees for any of the banking regulatory posts will likely have a difficult time being confirmed.

This year, nominees for the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Housing Finance Agency have already taken themselves out of the running because of opposition from Republicans.

Last month, 44 Republicans said they would block any nominee to be director of the new bureau unless legislation is enacted changing how it is structured, a move Democrats say is intended to weaken the watchdog.

(Editing by Robert MacMillan)