WASHINGTON — President Trump may name a new temporary head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as soon as this week, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The Journal said that the president is considering selecting Keith Noreika, a banking lawyer at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, as acting comptroller.

Trump has legal power to remove the current comptroller, Thomas Curry, whose term expired last month. But the move is still a surprise because the Trump administration has supposedly already selected Joseph Otting, a former banker at OneWest, for the OCC job. It's not clear why the administration has not yet nominated Otting, whose name surfaced for the job two months ago.

Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry
Comptroller Thomas Curry could be replaced as early as this week. Bloomberg News

Under the National Bank Act, the president has substantial leeway to select a new acting comptroller. But it would be politically tricky to put Otting in the job as acting comptroller if he is also the nominee.

It's not clear why the administration felt the need to move now to replace Curry, but Republicans have openly worried he is rushing his fintech charter initiative. State regulators filed suit last week against the agency, claiming it lacks the legal power to act.

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