Wealthfront added former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chair Sheila Bair and former Comptroller of the Currency Tom Curry to its newly formed Banking Advisory Group, the fintech announced Tuesday.
The group is expected to play a crucial role in navigating regulatory and partnership efforts as Wealthfront moves deeper into the banking ecosystem in its efforts to build a "nextgen banking service," the company said.
- Wealthfront, which got its start as a robo-adviser, is gradually adding more bank-like products to its platform. The Palo Alto, California-based fintech first launched a cash account in February 2019 and rolled out a debit card and checking features in June.
"We couldn't have asked for a more distinguished duo to kick off the formation of our Banking Advisory Group," Wealthfront CEO Andy Rachleff said in a statement. "Sheila's and Tom's combined experience in the banking industry will be invaluable to Wealthfront as we continue our efforts to rebuild a new, better way to bank that makes money with the client — not from them."
Bair, who is best known for her time at the helm of the FDIC, where she navigated the agency through the 2008 financial crisis, serves as chair of the board of the government-controlled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, a role she took on last month. Bair has sat on Fannie Mae's board since August 2019.
"Wealthfront has been a leading innovator in the financial services industry, and I am excited to join their efforts to build a better financial system," Bair said in a statement. "I love the way the team thinks outside the box to deliver more long-term value to the client, and the opportunity ahead of them in banking is enormous. Technology has huge potential to lower costs and improve services for the banking public. I couldn't be more excited to help Wealthfront create long overdue change."
Curry, who is a partner in the law firm Nutter's corporate and transactions department and a co-leader of the firm's banking and financial services group, served as head of the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) from 2012 to 2017.
As the head of the bank regulator, he proposed the fintech national bank charter, an effort that is facing legal challenges, and established the OCC's Office of Innovation.
Before joining the OCC, Curry served on the FDIC's board of directors.
"I admire the way Wealthfront has worked closely with their regulators to develop innovative products and services that put more money into clients' hands," Curry said in a statement. "They are an industry leader who is truly focused on building a better banking system. Wealthfront's use of technology and complete focus on the client are a welcome innovation, and I am thrilled to join in their efforts."