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WASHINGTON-Senate Banking Committee Republican Staff Director Wayne Abernathy received the green light from the Senate Banking Committee last week on his way to confirmation by the full Senate to the position of Treasury assistant secretary for financial institutions. The vote was unanimous for Abernathy to take the post left vacant by Sheila Bair in June for a teaching position. Abernathy has been with the committee’s staff for more than 20 years and worked directly under Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Phil Gramm (R-Texas) for the last 15. Gramm announced his retirement after this session of Congress earlier this year. In his prepared remarks, Abernathy said, “Nearly all of our financial institutions are overseen by regulators with varying degrees of institutional independence, placed somewhere between the two branches of government. I believe that they have been so situated to meet two important goals: to minimize political influence in the regulation of our financial institutions while retaining adequate accountability over the regulators. “That accountability can best be maintained, then, in cooperation between the two branches, addressing the issues on the basis of principles and sound policies. And while that may seem nice to say in theory, it has been my experience that it works that way in practice. And if confirmed, it is my intention to continue that productive tradition.” CUNA wrote in support of the appointment, “CUNA strongly supports his nomination and we are confident that Wayne will be a valuable asset in implementing the policies of the Treasury Department. “We have known Wayne to be a fair-minded, open public servant for many years. There is every reason to believe that his calm, but measured, approach to policy will serve him and our nation well as he embarks on a new chapter of his public service career.” In similar fashion, NAFCU Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bill Donovan sent a letter to the committee on the eve of the hearing. “As representatives of the credit union community here in our nation’s Capitol, NAFCU has been particularly appreciative of Mr. Abernathy’s recognition of the critically important role credit unions, as member-owned financial cooperatives, play in the delivery of consumer financial services to so many of our nation’s citizens,” the letter read. “While we are sorry to see him leave the Banking Committee, we have no doubt that he will assume an even greater role in shaping our nation’s public policies concerning financial services issues as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions. Our country is well-served when men and women of Mr. Abernathy’s intellect, character and integrity dedicate their lives to public service.” [email protected]

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