The Washington Post: Asked if discrimination exists, top banking regulator says he has ‘personally never observed it’
The Washington Post, June 15, 2018: Asked if discrimination exists, top banking regulator says he has ‘personally never observed it’
Joseph M. Otting was sworn in as U.S. comptroller of the currency in November. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Joseph Otting, one of the country’s most powerful banking regulators, repeatedly stumbled over questions from lawmakers this week on whether discrimination remains a problem in the United States, saying he had “personally never observed it.”
Otting, the U.S. comptroller of the currency, is a leading proponent of revamping the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which compels banks to lend to borrowers in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Democrats warn that rolling back the law could open the way for more discriminatory lending, and lawmakers peppered Otting with questions about the issue during two congressional hearings.
During a House Financial Services Committee hearing Wednesday, Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-Mass.) asked Otting whether he believed “discrimination exists in America today.”
“I have personally never observed it, but many of my friends from the inner city across America will tell me that it is evident today,” Otting said.
Capuano pressed Otting, asking, “Do you believe that it exists?”
“People have told me it exists, and so I trust those people when they tell me that,” the comptroller responded.