Anthony Albanese, the Acting Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), recently announced his resignation after slightly more than four months in the position. Albanese was appointed as Acting Superintendent in June after Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky’s resignation. Albanese is expected to remain in his current position until the end of the year.
Albanese’s resignation comes amid rumors of ongoing tension between Albanese and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Sources have reported that Governor Cuomo, in response to request from the financial services industry, has asked that his office be allowed to review and comment on requests that NYDFS has sent to supervised institutions. Albanese has publicly denied that his resignation was prompted by any conflict, instead stating that his appointment was always intended to be temporary and that he was offered a new opportunity in the private sector.
In the last few years, the NYDFS has been an aggressive supervisory agency, initiating and participating in a number of high-profile enforcement actions, establishing the United States’ first “BitLicense” for virtual currency businesses, and pursuing enforcement actions and consent agreements with various third-party consultants to financial institutions. Both consumer groups (with the support of Senator Elizabeth Warren) and the financial services industry groups have reportedly weighed in with Governor Cuomo’s office over the last several months with indications of their preferred replacements. With less than two months until Albanese leaves office, these lobbying efforts are certain to increase.
The replacement for Albanese, yet to be announced, will signal the future direction of the NYDFS and whether it will continue its aggressive approach to financial services regulation and enforcement or choose to take a more moderate approach.