Throughout Obama's first term, Geithner has been constantly
criticized as looking out for the interests of Wall Street over Main
Street, particularly for what some critics say was his opposition to
mortgage relief for underwater homeowners out of concern for bank
profits. Lew seems likely to be less of a lightning rod than Geithner,
who is the protege of bank-deregulator Robert Rubin. Lew is widely seen
as a smart, tough negotiator and an able public servant.
But his professed lack of expertise in financial regulation, along
with his own tenure at Rubin's old firm, the original too-big-to-fail
bank, Citigroup, has raised warning flags among critics. They fear a Lew
Treasury might not aggressively push back financial industry efforts to
water down the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law or keep an eye out for
the next financial crisis.