Steven Mnuchin is reportedly Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury secretary, according to CNN.
Mnuchin is a banker who previously served as finance chair during the Donald Trump presidential campaign, and he would be replacing the current Treasury secretary, Jacob Lew. For two decades, Mnuchin worked for one of the banks responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis.
Here’s everything you need to know about the United States’ possible next Treasury secretary.
1. He Worked for Goldman Sachs
Much to the chagrin of many within both the Republican and Democratic parties, Trump’s potential Treasury secretary pick is a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, the bank which played a key role in the 2008 financial crisis and which was bailed out by the United States government.
Mnuchin came to work for Goldman Sachs in part because his father, Robert Mnuchin, was a prominent Goldman Sachs banker of 30 years, according to The New York Times. Mnuchin left the bank in 2002, but he would later become the head of OneWest Bank, and he currently is the chairman of Dune Capital Management, a private investment firm.
According to The Wall Street Journal, when Mcuchin left Goldman Sachs, he was worth $46 million.
2. He Is Also a Film Producer
Mnuchin has amassed his wealth not just through investment banking; he is also involved in the world of Hollywood.
In 2006, Mnuchin founded Dune Entertainment, a production company that later merged with Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment to form RatPac-Dune Entertainment. This company has a financial stake in dozens upon dozens of popular films, including 2016 movies like Suicide Squad, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Accountant, The Conjuring 2 and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. They also co-produced the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar.
Two years ago, Mnuchin became the co-chairman of Relativity Media. He left the studio not long before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Variety.
3. OneWest, the Bank He Headed, Has Been Criticized For Its Foreclosure Practices
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Steven Mnuchin and a group of investors, including George Soros, purchased IndyMac Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for $1.5 billion. IndyMac was one of the lenders that dealt with high-risk loans and which collapsed during the housing market crash, being seized by the FDIC. According to The Nation, Mnuchin and his fellow investors made a deal with the FDIC where they would purchase the bank and also receive reimbursements for the cost of foreclosing on people who had loans with IndyMac. Mnuchin later renamed IndyMac OneWest Bank.
OneWest has been criticized for cruelly foreclosing on Americans across the country, often being taken to court for their practices. For example, there was the case of Diane Yano-Horoski and Greg Horoski, a Long Island couple who bought a one-level house in the mid 1990s for $200,000. As reported by The New York Post, they refinanced their loan in 2004, but after the interest rate soared and Horoski began dealing with health problems, they had trouble making payments and they were sued by IndyMac. Their home was foreclosed, and Horoski went to court. The judge completely wiped out the couple’s $525,000 mortgage and criticized IndyBank for “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive” actions. This took place while IndyBank was embroiled in another court case involving their foreclosure of an 89-year-old woman’s home.
In October 2011, around the time of the Occupy Wall Street movement, protesters marched outside of Steve Mnuchin’s mansion in Los Angeles, holding up signs reading “Stop taking our homes,” according to Bloomberg.
Over the next few years, OneWest was involved in several lawsuits and on multiple occasions settled for millions of dollars, according to The New York Times. They have also received subpoenas from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to The Nation.
Last year, Mnuchin sold OneWest Bank for $3.4 billion.
4. He Has Donated to Democrats, Including Hillary Clinton
Like Donald Trump himself, Steven Mnuchin has donated to politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. According to Bloomberg, Mnuchin has donated about $7,000 to Hillary Clinton, including during her 2008 bid for the White House.
He has donated to the Republican National Committee as well, but Bloomberg reports that Mnuchin’s donations to Democrats outweigh his donations to Republicans. Mnuchin told The New York Times that he donates to both sides because he has “always believed in supporting the best candidate at the time.”
It’s unclear to what degree Mnuchin actually agrees with Trump on certain issues. According to Bloomberg, Mnuchin has had to defend Trump to his friends and family after the candidate’s controversial actions. For example, over the summer, Mnuchin received a call from a Holocaust survivor he knows after Donald Trump tweeted an anti-Semetic image of Hillary Clinton surrounded by piles of money and a six-pointed star.
Billionaire developer Richard LeFrak told Bloomberg that he isn’t sure Mnuchin’s beliefs even line up with that of Donald Trump but that Mnuchin joined the Trump team because he saw it as a great opportunity.
“He’s a guy that can recognize an opportunity and adapt to it,” LeFrak said. “He’s able to switch into different things.”
5. Critics Fear He Won’t Be Tough on Wall Street
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has positioned himself as a candidate outside of the establishment, criticizing his rivals for taking money from Wall Street and suggesting he will end corporate loopholes that benefit wealthy bankers. This populist message appealed to his Republican supporters and even to some Democrats, who felt Hillary Clinton was too cozy with Wall Street.
But some critics worry that the hiring of Steven Mnuchin suggests that Trump will not do anything about Wall Street after all.
“It’s hard to see Mnuchin cracking down on Wall Street,” Jeff Hauser, director of the non-profit Revolving Door Project, told Politico. “Indeed, one imagines Mnuchin’s banking agenda would be to rehabilitate Trump’s reputation with Wall Street.”
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