CHICAGO - A Democratic official says President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Mary Schapiro to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, turning to a veteran of the agency to try to revitalize it.

Schapiro is currently the head of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest nongovernmental regulator for securities firms doing business with the public. Before that, she was chairwoman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and for six years was a member of the SEC.

Bloomberg News reported that Obama would announce plans to nominate Schapiro, 53, in Chicago today, also citing a top Democrat and a securities-law expert who have discussed the selection with the president-elect's transition team.

The SEC has been criticized in recent months for failing to detect signs that major Wall Street banks were in trouble. The financial losses suffered by lending institutions have played a significant role in the current economic crisis.

FINRA, which is overseen by the SEC, inspects more than 5,000 U.S. brokerages, writes rules for those selling securities, and imposes sanctions.