President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the U.S. Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, denied on Thursday that a bank he owned had profited at the expense of vulnerable homeowners in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 housing crash.
In prepared testimony for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, the Wall Street veteran said accusations his OneWest Bank had operated as a "foreclosure machine" were untrue and politically motivated.
"Since I was first nominated to serve as Treasury Secretary, I have been maligned as taking advantage of others' hardships in order to earn a buck. Nothing could be further from the truth," Mnuchin wrote in his opening statement.
Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, hedge fund manager and Hollywood film financier, would be the first Wall Street veteran to head the Treasury Department in eight years.
Democrats, however, see an easy target in the more than 36,000 foreclosures that California-based OneWest pursued after Mnuchin struck a lucrative deal with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp to absorb most of the losses from such actions.
Senator Ron Wyden, the Finance Committee's top Democrat, hammered Mnuchin on his record at OneWest, for the bank's automated "robo-signing" of foreclosure documents and foreclosing on the widows of reverse mortgage holders. [Read more... http://snip.ly/q8mrt ] By David Lawder | WASHINGTON