Anthony Albanese, the top deputy to New York bank regulator Benjamin Lawsky, will become acting head of the state's Department of Financial Services when his boss steps down next week, signaling little change in that office's aggressive stance on financial enforcement.
Albanese's appointment as acting superintendent "means business as usual for the department," Lawsky said in an internal memo to staff today. "He is tough, but fair and passionate about doing what's right."
Albanese has been Lawsky's chief negotiator on settlement agreements with global banks including Standard Chartered Plc, Barclays Plc and BNP Paribas SA. Albanese, 43, is known among lawyers working for the banks as a tough negotiator who doesn't shy away from spelling out consequences of a refusal to agree to the state's demands.
Lawsky, who vaulted the office into the spotlight with threats to take away the U.S. charters of some of the world's biggest banks, extracting billions of dollars in settlements, is leaving to set up his own consulting firm and become a visiting scholar at Stanford University. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn't yet named Lawsky's replacement and is expected to conduct a search that could take several months, according to a person briefed on the matter.
One of Albanese's most important roles was in the BNP settlement one year ago, in which the bank pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions. Lawsky agreed not to pull BNP's license to operate in New York, but demanded the bank temporarily give up dollar-clearing privileges at several offices.
Lawsky dispatched Albanese to Paris where, along with Thomas Baxter of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he explained to European regulators how the DFS plan would work.
Before joining DFS in 2011 as Lawsky's chief of staff, Albanese was an attorney at Weil, Gotschal & Manges.