Keith Noreika, who served seven months as acting Comptroller of the Currency and was instrumental in helping the Trump administration score a legislative victory with the repeal of a rule regulating consumer arbitration agreements, has rejoined Simpson Thacher Bartlett as a partner.
Noreika is returning to his former law firm, where he worked before joining the OCC in May 2017. He will advise a wide range of financial institutions about regulatory issues and other litigation matters including federal preemption, the law firm said Monday in a press release.
As one of the most active acting regulators in recent history, Noreika helped tip the scale in favor of a Republican repeal of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rule banning mandatory arbitration clauses by claiming that the regulation would raise credit costs and harm small banks. He engaged in a monthslong letter-writing campaign with former CFPB Director Richard Cordray on the issue.
Senate Republicans eked out a 51-50 vote using an obscure legislative process called the Congressional Review Act to repeal the arbitration rule, which was released in July 2017.
The rule would have banned banks, credit unions and other lenders from using mandatory arbitration clauses in financial contracts, allowing consumers to band together to file class-action lawsuits.
Noreika also argued for scaling back the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 that separates banking from commercial activities. A graduate of Harvard Law, Noreika has spent two decades representing banks.
For years, Noreika worked at Covington & Burling with his mentor, former Comptroller John Dugan.
Comptroller Joseph Otting, who took the reins at the OCC in late November, is expected to continue the deregulatory push.