How Bank Regulators Are Trying to Oust a Trump Holdover

Afterwards, there were fireworks. Mrs. McWilliams’ public relations office at the FDIC issued the following statement on her behalf:

An anonymous statement read: “Earlier today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) posted on its website a document, purportedly approved by the FDIC, requesting comment on bank mergers.” “The FDIC has not approved any such document.”

Ms. McWilliams and her staff had been working behind the scenes for several weeks to counteract Mr. Chopra and Mr. Gruenberg, according to two people briefed on the matter who were not authorised to speak publicly on the matter. The other board members quickly rejected Ms. McWilliams’ alternative text after she learned of the effort to create a public information request for bank mergers, the people said.

A vote was not counted because of Ms. McWilliams’ claims of procedural violations, the people who worked with her said, when voting began in late November.

It was announced by senior FDIC officials on Thursday that the information request would not be made official. They argued that the two Democrats’ move was invalid because it didn’t follow proper procedure.

Mr. Gruenberg was unconvinced, however.

For example, he said in an email to journalists on Thursday, “It is clear under statute that a majority of FDIC directors has authority to place items on the agenda for Board meetings and, alternatively, to circulate and act on notational votes, to implement board actions.” “No single Board member can override the majority’s decision.”

“Work collaboratively with other regulators” is what the O.C.C. spokeswoman said about Mr. Hsu’s vote, but she didn’t go into specifics.

In order to move the case forward, Mr. Chopra and Mr. Gruenberg will likely have to sue Ms. McWilliams, two people with knowledge of the situation said.