U.S. Senate panel backs Raskin for Treasury deputy

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:54am EST

WASHINGTON Dec 13 (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate committee backed Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin on Friday to be the Treasury Department's No. 2 official, sending the nomination to the full Senate where final approval looks likely.

The Senate Finance Committee voted by voice vote in favor of the nomination. It is not clear how soon the full chamber will take it up.

A former Maryland banking regulator, Raskin is expected to be a central figure in the roll-out of new Wall Street regulations aimed at preventing future financial crises.

U.S. regulators have only finalized about 40 percent of the nearly 400 rules required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, law firm Davis Polk estimated in December.

"She has an enormously full plate in front of her," said Harvey Goldschmid, a former commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Raskin is expected to help coordinate the Financial Stability Oversight Council, or FSOC, a body of regulators created by Dodd-Frank to police systemic risks in the financial world.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew chairs the FSOC, which is in the process of deciding which firms need stricter regulations because they could start a crisis if they failed.

One pending decision is how to treat three insurance companies which were designated as systemically important earlier this year.

Raskin told lawmakers in November that systemically important insurance companies should not face the same capital rules as banks.

A 52-year old lawyer by training, Raskin would be the highest-ranking woman in the Treasury's history. She has served on the Fed's board since 2010, and was outspoken about the need for mortgage servicers to end illegal foreclosure practices and fix other problems in their business.

Lew pushed Raskin as his ideal deputy, given her management and banking experience, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters after the White House picked her for the post in July.

She would replace Neal Wolin, who stepped down in August.