Trump nominee for powerful bank regulator post misrepresented college degree

Joseph Otting, right, then chief executive of OneWest Bank, speaks at a 2015 hearing in Los Angeles, regarding the bank's purchase by CIT Group.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

President Trump’s nominee for a post as a powerful banking regulator has misrepresented a college degree on his resume, according to a spokeswoman for Dartmouth College.

Joseph Otting, the former chief executive of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank whom Trump nominated Tuesday to be the next comptroller of the currency, has claimed to be a graduate of the School of Credit and Financial Management at Dartmouth.

“Joseph Otting is not a Dartmouth graduate,” Diana Lawrence, the college’s associate vice president for communications, said Saturday. “Dartmouth does not have a school of credit and financial management.”

The degree was included in a short biography of Otting released by the White House on Monday when Trump announced his intention to nominate Otting.

The degree also was listed on a biography for a 2015 speech Otting gave at a conference hosted by the Hope Global Forums and in a 2014 announcement when he was elected as chairman of the California Chamber of Commerce board of directors.


Otting’s misrepresentation of the degree was first reported by Bloomberg News.

There is is a continuing education program called the Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management offered by the National Assn. of Credit Management in Columbia, Md.

The program consists of a pair of two-week sessions in consecutive years and now is held at American University in Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg reported that the program used to be held at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., but wasn’t affiliated with the school.

Records show that Otting graduated from the program in 1992 when he was a midlevel manager at Union Bank in Beverly Hills, Bloomberg said.

The White House confirmed Bloomberg’s description of the program but does not believe Otting misrepresented himself, said White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom.

Contact information for Otting, who lives in Nevada, could not be obtained.

Otting’s biography says he has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa. He would be the first comptroller of the currency since 1981 without an advanced academic degree.

The job involves leading the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent bureau of the Treasury Department that oversees federally chartered banks.

Those include the banking arms of some of the largest financial institutions in the country, including JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency played a key role in the $185-million settlement last year with Wells Fargo involving its creation of unauthorized accounts.

News that Otting misrepresented his degree is likely to add to opposition to his nomination already coming from Democrats, who have criticized OneWest’s foreclosure practices.

Otting ran the bank from 2010 to 2015. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin was the bank’s chairman from 2009 to 2015.

Also, the Justice Department announced last month that Financial Freedom, a OneWest subsidiary, had agreed to pay $89 million to settle allegations that it defrauded the Federal Housing Administration regarding reverse mortgage insurance payments from March 31, 2011, to Aug. 31, 2016.

Twitter: @JimPuzzanghera


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5 p.m.: This article was updated with White House comment.

This story originally was published at 2:45 p.m.