Skip to Content

Press Releases

UPDATED - Ranking Member Waters’ Statement on FDIC Report

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, issued this statement following Cleary Gottlieb’s release of its report into workplace culture at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

“The report released by Cleary Gottlieb describing FDIC’s workplace culture is troubling. This report affirms that the FDIC needs to change its policies and programs to improve its workplace culture – particularly in the area of anti-sexual harassment. All employees deserve a work environment free from abuse and the FDIC under Democratic and Republican leadership has failed to provide that. Chairman Gruenberg must work diligently to fix what is broken at the FDIC and to restore the trust of employees in his leadership and in the organization.

“Unfortunately, the Cleary report diverts attention from the longstanding institutional challenges confronting the FDIC by spotlighting allegations of temperament raised against only one of three individuals who held the Chairmanship of the FDIC during the matters addressed in its review.

“Tone at the top is important and positive workplace culture needs to be modeled and reinforced from the top down. However, the Cleary report places the focus for ‘tone at the top’ solely on the Democratic Chair under whose leadership the agency received the most favorable ratings from its employees, while it completely ignores the activities of the two previous Republican Chairs. For example, in 2020 the FDIC Inspector General issued a report on harassment at the agency, which covered part of the tenure of Chair Jelena McWilliams.[1] Under her leadership employee favorability ratings of the agency declined. Similarly, investigators informed Committee staff that allegations of temperament were also raised against former Chair Sheila Bair but those were not included in the report. By narrowly focusing the report on the current Chair, the authors of the report do a disservice to FDIC employees and impede the public understanding of the depth of the problems at the FDIC.

“The bottom line is Chair Gruenberg and the FDIC Board must promptly implement policies and programs that ensure there is a professional environment where everyone feels safe and protected. To restore trust, FDIC must continue implementing the action plan I requested of Chair Gruenberg last year, along with the recommendations laid out in the report. This must be the FDIC leadership’s top priority.”

*This statement has been updated to reflect the time frame of the 2020 FDIC Inspector General Report.


[1] FDIC Office of Inspector General, Evaluation Report: Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment, EVAL-20-006 (Jul. 10, 2020).


Back to top