Wall Street foe Maxine Waters likely to take over House banking panel


David A. Grogan | CNBC

Congresswoman Maxine Waters speaking at the CNBC Capital Exchange event in Washington, D.C. on July 25th, 2018. 

A fierce Trump critic and Wall Street foe appears poised to take control of the House’s powerful financial services committee.

Rep. Maxine Waters has been the top Democrat on the banking panel since Barney Frank, the former congressman from Massachusetts, retired in 2013. She is likely to become the chairwoman of the panel following the GOP’s loss of the lower chamber in the midterm elections.

Waters has called for increased regulation of the nation’s major banks, a position at odds with the deregulatory agenda of President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress. Last fall, the committee’s Democrats, under Waters’ leadership, issued a report calling for Wells Fargo to shut its doors for good following a number of high-profile scandals.

And in July, during in an interview with John Harwood atCNBC’s Capital Exchange event in Washington, the 14-term House member from California pledged higher fines for financial institutions that flout the law.

It is unlikely that Democrats will be able to usher in any major regulation without a majority in the Senate, or while Trump is president. But some investors fear that Waters could use her subpoena power to dig up dirt on Wells and other banks, according to the industry publication American Banker.

Waters has said she would focus on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and housing reform if Democrats won control of the chamber.

In addition to her role overseeing the nation’s financial institutions, Waters has repeatedly sparred with the president and called for his impeachment. Trump has labeled Waters “crazy” and an “extraordinarily low IQ person.”

But Waters has said that the president’s comments will not deter her.

“I don’t care what he calls me. I know who I am. I know what I do,” Waters said at the Capital Exchange event. “I am perfectly comfortable with me. He can call me whatever he wants to, he does not intimidate me, and I am not going to stop talking about him.”

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