Biden nominates progressive for Treasury financial policy job

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has nominated former Senate staffer Graham Steele to serve as assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Treasury Department, a win for progressive Democrats who support strengthening bank regulatory policy.

Steele is currently the director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, which looks to “promote more accountable capitalism and governance,” the White House said in a release.

Steele also worked from 2010 to 2017 on the Senate Banking Committee, where he was a legislative assistant for the committee’s current chair, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and the minority chief counsel. He also served for four years as the staff director for the subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer protection.

After leaving the committee in 2017, Steele was a member of the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Steele said in a tweet Monday after his nomination was announced that it was “an honor to be nominated” and that, if confirmed, he looks forward to serving “with all of the great people” at Treasury.

Brown in a statement called Steele’s nomination “an excellent choice by President Biden.”

“Graham Steele spent his career fighting Wall Street greed — on the side of working families and consumers,” he said. “I am confident that as assistant secretary, Mr. Steele will support the president’s fight to address income inequality, climate change and systemic racism, and to make our economy more just for workers.”

In a research note, Ed Mills, a policy analyst at Raymond James, noted that Steele’s nomination is “the latest signal of a progressive policy shift across banking, asset management and housing policy.”

“Steele can be thought of as a strong progressive ally on financial regulation, and has advocated for aggressive use of a broad set of regulatory tools in order to curtail the size and market power of financial firms,” he said.

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