“Marty Gruenberg should resign,” he said.
Senator John Kennedy (R-La.), who also serves on the panel, sent a letter to Gruenberg urging the same.
Kennedy wrote, “As a result of these troubling reports and your apparent unwillingness to address them, I call for your resignation so that a new Chairman can restore the professional culture at the FDIC that the American people have come to expect.”
By Thursday afternoon, some Democrats had begun to consider, though stopped short of, calling for Gruenberg’s resignation. Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown of Ohio called for the FDIC Inspector General to “conduct an independent and thorough investigation of the workplace culture at the agency.”
“The reports are extremely worrying,” Brown said in a statement.
The Journal reported Monday that the agency has been plagued by a culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment for years, which has led female employees to quit. The newspaper published a story late Wednesday citing current and former FDIC officials saying Gruenberg and top representatives were involved in decisions on alleged sexism and racial discrimination, in which the agency took no hard stance. It was also reported that Gruenberg was known to have an “explosive temper”.
The FDIC later canceled an open meeting of its board of directors and said members would instead submit their votes to finalize a new rule in writing. Shortly afterward, GOP members of the board issued a statement saying that the news articles had undermined public confidence in the agency.
“This has been a difficult week for the FDIC,” Vice Chairman Travis Hill and board member Jonathan McKernan said in the statement. “Restoring trust in the work environment at the FDIC will be challenging.”
The top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, Tim Scott (R-S.C.), wrote in a statement that Gruenberg “has failed to lead and address employees’ concerns for years.”
“As such, he should seriously consider whether he has the leadership the FDIC needs to restore confidence in the agency at this time,” he said.
Lawmakers pressed Gruenberg on the allegations at oversight hearings Tuesday and Wednesday.
Gruenberg said harassment and discrimination are “unacceptable” and told lawmakers that an independent firm would conduct a “top to bottom evaluation” of the agency. He said he was unaware of the allegations of workplace problems at the agency before the Journal’s reporting.
“It is absolutely clear that our employees at the FDIC have suffered terrible experiences that are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated,” the FDIC chief testified. “It’s really up to the agency to take all necessary actions to contain this and address it effectively.”
In their statement, GOP members of the FDIC said Gruenberg and the general counsel, who is also involved in the report, should recuse themselves entirely from the independent review and direct the investigation to the board rather than management.
The White House said Thursday it supports the investigation.
“Any reports of sexual harassment and discrimination are unacceptable, and we support the FDIC’s decision to conduct a thorough investigation,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I would refer you to the FDIC for anything further.”
Representative Bill Foster (D-Ill.) similarly said that these are “serious allegations that must be investigated, and those responsible must be held accountable.”
McHenry declined to ask Gruenberg to step down in a separate statement, but said he “should never have been reappointed or confirmed in the first place.” McHenry said his committee would conduct a “rigorous investigation”, including hearings and written interviews.
“Under his leadership, the FDIC has engaged in this partisan situation at best and compromised at worst,” McHenry said in a statement. “Chair Gruenberg is clearly responsible because these allegations occurred during her tenure as a board member or chair. There is no excuse for this alleged behavior, this is why [FDIC] The Inspector General will have to inform the committee as soon as possible.”
The agency watchdog found in 2020 that the FDIC had no incentive systems in place to encourage employees and managers to create “a culture in which harassment is not tolerated” and to report and investigate complaints.
Gruenberg was forced to back down on Wednesday after telling the House Financial Services Committee that he himself had never been investigated for workplace misconduct.
“You asked me a question earlier,” Gruenberg reportedly told McHenry, after Journal reporters contacted the agency for comment. “For clarification, in 2008, I was interviewed pursuant to a review conducted in response to a concern raised by an employee, and I am not aware of anything that came out of that review.”
Representative Bill Huizenga criticized the officer for “perjuring himself” – though he stopped short of calling for his resignation.
“It is clear there has been a failure of leadership,” the Michigan Republican said in a statement. “I have every expectation that the FDIC and its Chairman will cooperate with our investigation to ensure the safety and soundness of our financial system.”
An FDIC spokesman said the board will move ahead with a vote, scheduled for a meeting Thursday, on whether to approve a final rule that would allow big banks to boost their deposit insurance funds after losses from its first two regional lenders. Will charge additional fees. Year.