Trump expected to name former Goldman banker Mnuchin for Treasury - source

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WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name former Goldman Sachs partner and Hollywood financier Steven Mnuchin as his nominee for Treasury secretary, a source said on Tuesday, putting a Wall Street veteran in the top U.S. economic Cabinet post for the first time in eight years.

Mnuchin, who was Trump's presidential campaign finance chairman, could be named as early as Wednesday, said a Republican source close to the decision.

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Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, testifies during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin sits with Vanessa Trump (R), wife of Donald Trump Jr, before a swearing-in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Incoming Trump administration Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin departs after working a simulated crisis scenario during transition meetings at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Producer Steve Bing (L) and Honoree Steven Mnuchin recipient of the Philanthropic Leadership Award attend The Kaleidoscope Ball - Designing The Future benefitting the UCLA Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, right, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.

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 Steve Mnuchin and Lousie Linton arrive at the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Jupiter Ascending' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

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Heather Mnuchin and Steve Mnuchin attend The Art Show Gala to Benefit The Henry Street Settlement at The Seventh Regiment Armory on February 23, 2005 in New York City.

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Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin attends the inaugural parade of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, January 20, 2017. Donald Trump was sworn in earlier as the 45th President of the United States.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Donald Trumps' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Mnuchin was chosen over several high-profile candidates, including JPMorgan Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon and Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

Mnuchin is the first person with Wall Street experience to head the Treasury since his former boss, Henry Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs CEO who served under President George W. Bush and steered Treasury through the chaotic initial stages of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

The selection of Mnuchin was first reported by The New York Times.

A relatively little-known but successful private equity investor and hedge fund manager, Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs before leaving in 2002, when he launched Dune Capital Management.

With Dune, Mnuchin has invested in movies produced by Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox and Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros, including blockbusters "Avatar," "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "Suicide Squad."

ACQUIRED FAILED BANK

The son of a Goldman Sachs partner who became an art dealer, Mnuchin worked hard to step outside his father's shadow and make a name for himself, former colleagues said, rising to become the firm's chief information officer in 1999.

"He wanted to prove that he was there on the merits," said a former Goldman colleague, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mnuchin's experience running Goldman's mortgage-backed bond trading desk would later prove valuable when an opportunity arose in 2009 to buy the deeply discounted assets of failed California mortgage lender IndyMac Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the financial crisis.

He assembled an investor group that included hedge fund manager John Paulson to buy the assets for $1.55 billion, and moved to Los Angeles.

After rebranding the operation OneWest Bank, Mnuchin built it with other assets and professional sports team sponsorships into Southern California's largest bank, with 73 branches and $23 billion in assets. His group sold OneWest to CIT Group Inc last year for $3.4 billion.

But the bank came under fire for its foreclosure practices as housing advocacy groups accused it of being too quick to foreclose on struggling homeowners. In 2011, dozens of demonstrators descended on Mnuchin's $26.5 million home in the wealthy Bel Air neighborhood to protest OneWest's eviction tactics, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This month, two housing groups filed a complaint asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate complaints that OneWest engaged in discriminatory "redlining" practices against black and Latino communities.

Although Mnuchin has a reputation for being a behind-the-scenes player in Hollywood, he does appear on screen in the 2016 film "Rules Don't Apply," according to the IMDB movie database. The drama, opening in theaters Nov. 23, stars Warren Beatty, who also wrote and directed the film. (Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Svea Herbst and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Alistair Bell, Mary Milliken and Jonathan Oatis)

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