Obama to nominate Gruenberg to head FDIC -W.House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama plans to nominate Martin Gruenberg to be the next chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a top U.S. banking regulator, the White House said Friday.

Gruenberg, a Democrat, joined the FDIC board in 2005 and is now the regulator’s vice chairman. He would replace Sheila Bair, whose term expires this summer.

The post requires Senate confirmation, where many Obama picks have been held up by Republicans.

“I am confident that his intellect and years of experience in financial services…will make him an outstanding chairman,” said Democratic Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson in a statement.

Bair leaves the job on July 8 and the administration had been expected to tap Gruenberg as her replacement.

In a statement Friday, Bair said Gruenberg’s “long tenure at the FDIC and significant expertise in financial services issues make him an outstanding selection for this position.”

Gruenberg is said to have a muted style that will be in marked contrast to Bair, who has led the agency since 2006, navigating it through the financial crisis and the bailouts, calling out well-paid bankers and clashing with other regulators.

Since the mid-1980s, Gruenberg has been grinding away on banking issues, first as a top aide to one-time Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes, a Democrat.

Washington and Wall Street are waiting for Obama to name his pick to lead the consumer financial protection agency, which opens its doors on July 21.

Democrats are pushing the administration to nominate Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren for the job.

The Obama administration is considering nominating former banker Raj Date as head of the bureau, a source familiar with the decision-making said Wednesday.

While Gruenberg’s resume is rich with experience, his most desirable quality might be that he has a good chance of being confirmed — a rarity in partisan Washington and a contrast to Warren, whose lack of congressional support has overshadowed her prospects to head Obama’s new consumer watchdog. (Reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Alister Bull; Editing by Peter Cooney)