Nason, former Treasury official, being vetted for Fed role: sources

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[January 20, 2017]  By Patrick Rucker and Olivia Oran

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - David Nason, a General Electric executive and former Treasury Department official, is the front runner to become the Federal Reserve's top Wall Street regulator under President-elect Donald Trump, sources familiar with the screening said on Thursday.

Nason leads GE's Energy Financial Services division, which funds worldwide energy development, mostly from thermal and renewable sources.

In 2008, Nason was a deputy to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as U.S. regulators tried to stabilize Wall Street and prevent an economic meltdown after the housing market collapsed.

Trump will have a chance to nominate the Fed's vice chair for supervision - a role conceived in the wake of the financial collapse to watchdog Wall Street.

If Nason is tapped for the role, he would be the most senior rule-writer for Wall Street with a large say in how leading banks are supervised day to day.

In recent weeks, other names have been floated as vice chair candidates who can boast support from Wall Street.

Representative French Hill, an Arkansas Republican and former banker, has been favored by some in the banking industry while some Washington lobbyists have favored Paul Atkins, a former commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While no final decision has been made on who should fill the job, Nason has Paulson's backing and has become the front runner in recent weeks, the sources said.

In the last several weeks, Nason has met with Trump's senior economic advisers Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin, according to one source familiar with the meetings.

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Former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, U.S. Department of the Treasury, David Nason speaks during the "TARP: A Look at What Happened From Inside the Treasury Department " panel at the 2009 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 29, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

A Trump spokesperson declined to comment.

Trump has named Cohn as head of the White House National Economic Council and nominated Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.

Both Cohn and Mnuchin held senior roles at Goldman Sachs, and they have heard directly from Paulson, the company's former chief executive, that Nason is a solid pick, according to another source familiar with the screening.

Nason did not immediately respond to a call for comment. A spokesman for Paulson declined to comment.

In Paulson's memoir, "On the Brink," the former cabinet secretary singles Nason out for praise during the financial crisis.

(Reporting by Patrick Rucker in Washington and Olivia Oran in New York; Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson in Washington; Editing by Linda Stern, Lauren LaCapra and Leslie Adler)

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