The Independent Community Bankers of America is taking issue with the White House's selection of investment banker Antonio Weiss to become Treasury undersecretary of domestic finance, joining a growing list of those criticizing the nomination.
In a letter to the chairs and ranking members of both the Senate Banking and Finance committees, ICBA chief executive Camden Fine expressed concerns about Weiss' Wall Street experience, saying the Treasury position requires a broader background that includes interest in community banking issues. (Weiss heads the investment banking division of Lazard Ltd.)
"While Mr. Weiss has impressive credentials as a top Wall Street executive specializing in international mergers and acquisitions, Wall Street is already well represented at Treasury, and the narrow focus of Mr. Weiss's professional experience is a serious concern for ICBA and community banks nationwide," Weiss wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.
But the ICBA is not alone in expressing disapproval. Weiss's nomination already faces a major hurdle after it was reported late last week that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who recently ascended to the Senate Democratic leadership, opposes the pick. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, also reportedly has concerns. Both apparently have issues with Weiss's involvement in tax inversion deals.
In Fine's letter, he cited the ICBA's support for establishing a position for an assistant Treasury secretary to focus on community banking.
"The Treasury organizational chart has long included an assistant secretary for financial markets who is, typically, recruited from a Wall Street firm," Fine wrote. "Community banks deserve adequate representation as well."