Baker to Put a Banker in Charge of Regulating Banks

A senior executive at Massachusetts’ largest bank is set to become the Commonwealth’s chief bank regulator.

Terry McGinnis quietly resigned his position as General Counsel at Eastern Bank last week and Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to appoint him to be Commissioner of Banks at the end of the month, the Globe reported today.

McGinnis’s appointment marks the first time in nearly three decades that the state’s banking commissioner will come from the banking industry and not from regulatory side. Bankers, lobbyists, and attorneys have been expecting Governor Charlie Baker to appoint his own commissioner since he took office in 2015.

The banking commissioner oversees more than 200 banks and credit unions with combined assets of more than $400 billion. The office supervises nonbank companies such as mortgage lenders and brokers, consumer finance firms, and debt collectors.

McGinnis, shockingly, has been a consistent campaign contributor to Baker and other Massachusetts Republicans.

mcginnis-contribs

Aside from a few written-by-committee statements from advocacy organizations, don’t look for much push back. Eastern Bank is a mammoth financial – and political- institution in the Commonwealth. Through their corporate PAC, to which McGinnis contributed,they spread around a lot of money and influence. Nobody on Beacon Hill wants to get on their bad side.

Eastern Bank PAC contributed to both gubernatorial candidates in 2014, just in case. And they’ve given to most of the Constitutional Officers and some key mayors. The PAC only contributed to two legislators in the last two years: Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz. Eldridge and Michlewitz co-chair the Joint Committee on Financial Services, which oversees “all matters concerning banks.”

And so it will soon come to pass, in the home state of Sen. Elizabeth Warren a fox in a suit will be put in charge of guarding a $400 billion henhouse.

 

 

 

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