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Democratic Senator Raises Concern Over Conflicts in Fifth Third Fake Accounts Investigation

A senior Democratic senator Tuesday raised concerns that a federal regulator inquiring allegations that Fifth Third Bancorp employees developed phony accounts may be conflicted because one of its staffers previously worked at the financial institution.

Democratic Senator Raises Concern Over Conflicts in Fifth Third Fake Accounts Investigation

On Monday, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) charged Fifth Third with opening fake accounts between 2008 to 2016, in a case that echoes San Francisco-based lender Wells Fargo’s own latest scandal.

During a Senate Banking Committee (SBC) hearing Tuesday, Democratic legislator Sherrod Brown attacked CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger over her decision to appoint Leonard Chanin, who was deputy general counsel at Fifth Third during March 2017-March 2019, based on his LinkedIn account, as her part-time acting deputy.

Chanin is presently deputy to the chairperson of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Jelena McWilliams, who was also his colleague at Fifth Third when she was its chief legal officer (CLO) from January 2017 until May 2018.

Chanin couldn’t instantly be reached for comment. A spokesperson for the FDIC refused to comment. Neither Chanin nor McWilliams has been accused of misconduct.

Brown raised concerns about possible conflicts of interest the CFPB might face and interrogated Kraninger on what she knew of Chanin and McWilliams’ knowledge of the wrongdoing.

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