• September 30, 2023

Omarova seen as reining in financial technology, or fintech, firms

If confirmed, Saule Omarova would arrive at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency amid a larger crackdown on cryptocurrencies and fintech by the Biden administration. Omarova is seen here from a September 2018 hearing by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on fintech. (Courtesy Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs/TNS)

Saule Omarova, a Cornell law professor nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is viewed by supporters and critics alike as a regulator who could rein in the financial technology industry.

Her supporters see potential to set rules for a technology that they say poses increasing risk to the financial system. Her critics, including many in the fintech sector, say she would stifle innovation that technology is bringing to financial institutions.

“She clearly is concerned about risk migrating to the financial system from the unregulated parts of the financial system: payday lenders, fintech and stablecoin,” said Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Mick Mulvaney — the former House Republican member and White House chief of staff during the Trump administration, now on the board of advisers for the Chamber of Digital Commerce — said in a statement that Omarova’s confirmation would have a “chilling effect” on innovation.