WASHINGTON (AP) -- The new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission says she will review the agency's policy of letting companies and individuals settle charges without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

Mary Jo White defended the policy at a budget hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill, saying it has enabled the government to quickly return money to investors without a trial. But White, who became chairman in April, told the panel she is reviewing it with the agency's enforcement division to be certain.

Critics, including a federal judge, have complained that the policy doesn't deter repeat violations. It came under scrutiny in settlements the SEC reached with big financial firms, including Citigroup (NYSE:C) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), for their conduct in sales of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis.