Graham Steele

Former Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Oakland, CA



  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • U.S. Senate
  • Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco


  • U.S. economic policy
  • Financial and banking regulation
  • Competition and anti-trust


  • George Washington University, J.D.
  • University of Rochester, B.A.

Recent Coverage

MAY 30, 2024

POLITICO | Welcome to Washington, Where Background Checks Miss All Kinds of Red Flags

“The policy becomes more effective when you work for a well-functioning organization,” said Graham Steele, who left a Senate-confirmed Treasury job earlier this year (he made clear to me that he has no interest in being considered for the FDIC post).

And although no one cast the problem as being a partisan one, Steele added a message for his side of the aisle: “To me, it ought to be a particular point of emphasis for the Democratic Party, which I think it’s fair to say prides itself on being the party of functional, effective government.”

MAY 17, 2024

Bloomberg Law | CFPB Faces Fresh Fights After Supreme Court Lifts Funding Cloud

The agency will be confronted with procedural and substantive lawsuits over any coming regulations that industry opposes, said Graham Steele, who served as the assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions in the Biden Administration.

A pending Supreme Court decision on the scope of agency leeway to regulate under ambiguous laws could throw up another obstacle to CFPB rulemaking.

“The CFPB’s won the existential portion of this and now it’s just a pitched battle going rule by rule,” Steele said.

MAY 16, 2024

New York Times | What the Supreme Court Ruling Means for Other Consumer Bureau Actions

“The C.F.P.B. has now put all the existential threats to bed, but the next phase of this is the trench warfare of fighting the industry rule by rule,” said Graham Steele, a longtime financial regulation lawyer and former Treasury Department official.

He noted that Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s dissent cited three recent consumer bureau actions that, in Justice Alito’s view, would be “major changes” in consumer protection law. “Congress did not specifically authorize any of them,” the justice wrote.

MAR 25, 2024

Bloomberg Law | FDIC’s Bank Merger Overhaul Leaves Midsize Lender Deals in Limbo

Underscoring the FDIC’s challenge is that some deals meant to increase financial stability “end up resulting in a bigger firm that is less stable,” said Graham Steele, who until recently served as the Biden Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for financial institutions.

NOV 27, 2023

Wall Street Journal | Cyber Insurers Warn Catastrophic Hacks Will Require Government Help

Graham Steele, assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Treasury Department, said at the Nov. 17 conference that the government has reached the conclusion that it must investigate the topic more thoroughly. A simple “yes” or “no” answer to the question of whether a federal response is required demands a more nuanced answer, he said.

“We believe that further exploration of the proper federal insurance response to catastrophic cyber risks is warranted, and should be undertaken,” he said.

While a well-designed backstop could provide assurance to carriers, and encourage cybersecurity best practices, a poorly designed program could shift too much risk onto the government, he said.

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About Graham

Graham Steele most recently served as the Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  He is an expert on financial regulation and financial institutions, with more than a decade of experience working at the highest levels of law and policy in Washington, D.C.

Graham was previously the director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford Graduate School of Business, a research initiative that examines issues at the intersection of markets, business, and government to promote more accountable capitalism and governance.

Prior to joining Stanford GSB, Graham was a member of the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From 2015 to 2017, Graham was the Minority Chief Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs. From 2010 to 2015 he was a Legislative Assistant for United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), handling the Senator’s work as a member of the Senate Banking Committee. During that time, he also spent four years as the staff director of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Protection. Prior to joining Senator Brown’s staff, Graham was a policy counsel at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch in Washington, D.C.

Graham received his bachelors degree in political science from the University of Rochester and his law degree from The George Washington University Law School. He is originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Massachusetts State Bar.