Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
The Office of the Comptroller
A comptroller is a management level position responsible for supervising the quality of accounting and financial reporting of an organization.In British government, the Comptroller General or Comptroller and Auditor General is in most countries the external auditor of the budget execution of the...

 of the Currency
(or OCC) is a US federal agency established by the National Currency Act of 1863 and serves to charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

, regulate
Regulate may refer to:* Regulation* Regulate...G Funk Era, an album from rapper Warren G** Regulate , title song from the album...

, and supervise all national bank
National bank
In banking, the term national bank carries several meanings:* especially in developing countries, a bank owned by the state* an ordinary private bank which operates nationally...

s and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Currently, the acting Comptroller of the Currency is John Walsh.

Duties and functions

Headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, it has four district offices located in New York City, Chicago, Dallas and Denver. It has an additional 48 field offices throughout the United States, and a London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 office to supervise the international activities of national banks. It is an independent bureau
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

 of the United States Department of the Treasury
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

 and is headed by the Comptroller of the Currency. The OCC fulfills a number of main objectives:
  • ensures the safety and soundness of the national banking system;
  • fosters competition
    Competition is a contest between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For...

     by allowing banks to offer new products and services;
  • improves the efficiency and effectiveness of OCC supervision especially to reduce the regulatory burden;
  • ensure fair and equal access to financial services to all Americans;
  • enforces anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism finance laws that apply to national banks and federally-licensed branches and agencies of international banks; and
  • is the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting acts of misconduct committed by institution-affiliated parties of national banks, including officers, directors, employees, agents and independent contractors (including appraisers, attorneys and accountants).

The OCC participates in interagency activities in order to maintain the sanctity of the national banking system. By monitoring capital
Capital (economics)
In economics, capital, capital goods, or real capital refers to already-produced durable goods used in production of goods or services. The capital goods are not significantly consumed, though they may depreciate in the production process...

, asset quality
Asset quality
Asset quality an evaluation of an asset to measure the credit risk associated with it.-Description:Asset quality is related to the left-hand side of the bank balance sheet. Bank managers are concerned with the quality of their loans since that provides earnings for the bank...

, management
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to market risk
Market risk
Market risk is the risk that the value of a portfolio, either an investment portfolio or a trading portfolio, will decrease due to the change in value of the market risk factors. The four standard market risk factors are stock prices, interest rates, foreign exchange rates, and commodity prices...

, information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

, consumer compliance, and community reinvestment, the OCC is able to determine whether or not the bank is operating safely and soundly, and meeting all regulatory requirements. The OCC was created by Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 to fund the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 but was later transformed into a regulatory agency to instill confidence in the National Banking system and protect consumers from misleading business practices.

The OCC regulates and supervises about 1,500 national banks and 50 federal branches of foreign banks in the U.S., accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total assets of all U.S. commercial banks (as of June, 2010).

Other regulatory agencies like the OCC include: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is a United States government corporation created by the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933. It provides deposit insurance, which guarantees the safety of deposits in member banks, currently up to $250,000 per depositor per bank. , the FDIC insures deposits at...

 (of which the Comptroller serves as a director), the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision
Office of Thrift Supervision
The Office of Thrift Supervision was a United States federal agency under the Department of the Treasury that charters, supervises, and regulates all federally- and state-chartered savings banks and savings and loans associations. It was created in 1989 as a renamed version of another federal agency...

, and the National Credit Union Administration
National Credit Union Administration
The National Credit Union Administration is the United States independent federal agency that supervises and charters federal credit unions...

. The OCC routinely interacts and cooperates with other government agencies, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.

The Comptroller also serves as a director of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
NeighborWorks America
The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, doing business as NeighborWorks America,is a Congressionally chartered nonprofit organization that supports community development in the United States. The organization provides grants and technical assistance to 235 U.S...

, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Preemption of state banking regulation

In 2003, the OCC proposed regulations to preempt virtually all state banking and financial services laws for national banks and their diverse range of non-bank, corporate operating subsidiaries. Despite opposition from the National Conference of State Legislatures
National Conference of State Legislatures
The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan non-governmental organization established in 1975 to serve the members and staff of state legislatures of the United States...

, the OCC's regulations went into effect. In Watters v. Wachovia Bank, N.A. in 2007 the United States Supreme Court validated the preemption of state regulations by the OCC, ruling that the OCC, not the states, has the authority to subject national banks to "general supervision" and "oversight":
...State regulators cannot interfere with the business of banking by subjecting national banks or their OCC-licensed operating subsidiaries to multiple audits and surveillance under rival oversight regimes.

In Cuomo v. Clearing House Association, L. L. C., the Court clarified its decision in Watters, stating that federal banking regulations did not pre-empt the ability of states to enforce their own fair-lending laws, as "'general supervision and control' and 'oversight' are worlds apart from law enforcement," and therefore states retain law enforcement powers but have restricted "visitory" powers over national banks.

In July 2007, the OCC launched to assist customers of national banks and provide answers to national banking questions.

List of Comptrollers of the Currency

  • Hugh McCulloch
    Hugh McCulloch
    Hugh McCulloch was an American statesman who served two non-consecutive terms as U.S. Treasury Secretary, serving under three presidents.-Biography:...

     - (1863-1865)
  • Freeman Clarke
    Freeman Clarke
    Freeman Clarke was a U.S. Representative from New York during the American Civil War.Born in Troy, New York, Clarke went into business for himself at the age of fifteen. He began his financial career as cashier of the Bank of Orleans, Albion, New York...

     - (1865-1866)
  • Hiland R. Hulburd
    Hiland R. Hulburd
    Hiland R. Hulburd was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1867 to 1872.A member of the bar from Ohio, Hiland R. Hulburd was appointed deputy comptroller in August 1865...

     - (1867-1872)
  • John Jay Knox
    John Jay Knox
    John Jay Knox was an American financier, born in Knoxboro, New York. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1849 and entered the banking business.He was a vigorous supporter of the national banking plan of Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase...

     - (1872-1884)
  • Henry W. Cannon
    Henry W. Cannon
    Henry W. Cannon was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1884 to 1886.Cannon, a Minnesota banker, was named Comptroller by President Chester A. Arthur. After only a few months in office, he was confronted by the financial panic of 1884.A nationwide crisis was averted because the New...

     - (1884-1886)
  • William L. Trenholm
    William L. Trenholm
    William L. Trenholm was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1886 to 1889.Trenholm, a Confederate Army veteran, was the first Democrat and first Southerner to be appointed Comptroller...

     - (1886-1889)
  • Edward S. Lacey
    Edward S. Lacey
    Edward Samuel Lacey was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan and Comptroller of the Currency from 1889 to 1892.-Biography:...

     - (1889-1892)
  • A. Barton Hepburn
    A. Barton Hepburn
    Alonzo Barton Hepburn was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1892 to 1893....

     - (1892–1893)
  • James H. Eckels
    James H. Eckels
    James H. Eckels was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1893 to 1897.Eckels' appointment broke the precedent that only those with previous banking experience could serve as Comptroller...

     - (1893-1897)
  • Charles G. Dawes
    Charles G. Dawes
    Charles Gates Dawes was an American banker and politician who was the 30th Vice President of the United States . For his work on the Dawes Plan for World War I reparations he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served in the First World War, was U.S...

     - (1898–1901)
  • William Barret Ridgely
    William Barret Ridgely
    William B. Ridgely was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1901 to 1908.William B. Ridgely attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity. Upon his graduation from RPI in 1881, Ridgely engaged in mining, manufacturing, and banking in...

     - (1901-1908)
  • Lawrence O. Murray
    Lawrence O. Murray
    Lawrence O. Murray was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1908 to 1913.Attorney Lawrence O. Murray had extensive government service prior to his appointment as Comptroller by President Theodore Roosevelt...

     - (1908-1913)
  • John Skelton Williams
    John Skelton Williams
    John Skelton Williams was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1914 to 1921 and the first president of the Seaboard Air Line Railway.-Biography:John Skelton Williams was a leading southern financier...

     - (1914-1921)
  • D. R. Crissinger
    Daniel Richard Crissinger
    Daniel Richard Crissinger was a U.S. banker and lawyer. He served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board between 1923 and 1927.-Early life:...

     - (1921–1923)
  • Henry M. Dawes
    Henry M. Dawes
    Henry May Dawes was an American businessman and banker from a prominent Ohio family. He served as a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1923 to 1924 and also worked as an executive in the oil industry....

     - (1923–1924)
  • Joseph W. McIntosh
    Joseph W. McIntosh
    Joseph W. McIntosh was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1924 to 1928.Joseph W. McIntosh, appointed Comptroller by President Calvin Coolidge, was a banker who had served with distinction in World War I....

     - (1924–1928)
  • John W. Pole
    John W. Pole
    John W. Pole was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1928 to 1932.Pole was a native of England. He was appointed a national bank examiner in 1915 and subsequently chief examiner for the Sixth Federal Reserve District....

     - (1928–1932)
  • J. F. T. O'Connor - (1933–1938)
  • Preston Delano
    Preston Delano
    Preston Delano was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1938 to 1953.Preston Delano held office for 14 years, the longest term of any Comptroller. Delano was a businessman, investment counselor, and served as governor of the Home Loan Bank Board when appointed Comptroller by President...

     - (1938-1953)
  • Ray M. Gidney
    Ray M. Gidney
    Ray M. Gidney was a United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1953 to 1961.Ray M. Gidney was named Comptroller by President Dwight D. Eisenhower after a long and distinguished career in banking...

     - (1953–1961)
  • James J. Saxon
    James J. Saxon
    James J. Saxon was the 21st Comptroller of the Currency for the United States Department of the Treasury. He was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.Saxon left the Office of the Comptroller in January 1967...

     - (1961–1966)
  • William B. Camp
    William B. Camp
    William B. Camp was Comptroller of the Currency from 1966 to 1973.William B. Camp, a national bank examiner, was appointed Comptroller by President Lyndon Johnson...

     - (1966–1973)
  • James E. Smith - (1973–1976)
  • John G. Heimann
    John G. Heimann
    John G. Heimann was Comptroller of the Currency from 1977 to 1981.John G. Heimann, an investment banker and former New York State Supervisor of Banking and Commissioner of Housing and Community Development, was appointed by President Jimmy Carter....

     - (1977–1981)
  • Charles E. Lord
    Charles Lord
    Charles Edwin Lord II also known as Charles E. Lord. was an investment banker and appointed Vice-Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States of the United States by President Reagan...

     - (acting comptroller for most of 1981)
  • C. T. Conover
    C. T. Conover
    Todd C. Conover was Comptroller of the Currency in the United States from 1981 to 1985 Conover, a California banking and management consultant, was named Comptroller by President Ronald Reagan...

     - (1981-1985)
  • Robert L. Clarke
    Robert L. Clarke
    Robert L. Clarke was Comptroller of the Currency of the United States from 1985 to 1992.Robert L. Clarke, a Texas banking attorney, was named Comptroller by President Ronald Reagan...

     - (1985–1992)
  • Eugene Ludwig
    Eugene Ludwig
    Eugene A. "Gene" Ludwig is an American business leader and expert on banking regulation, risk management, and fiscal policy. He is the Founder and CEO of Promontory Financial Group, a global financial services advisory firm...

     - (1993–1998)
  • John D. Hawke, Jr.
    John D. Hawke, Jr.
    John D. Hawke served as the United States Comptroller of the Currency from 1998 to 2004.John D. Hawke, Jr., was born in New York City on June 26, 1933. He was graduated from Yale University in 1954 with a B.A. in English. From 1955 to 1957 he served on active duty with the U.S...

     - (1998–2004)
  • John C. Dugan
    John C. Dugan
    John C. Dugan was the 29th Comptroller of the Currency for the United States Department of the Treasury, sworn in August 2005. He completed his term on August 14, 2010....

     - (2005 – 2010)
  • John G. Walsh
    John G. Walsh
    John G. Walsh is an American economist and acting Comptroller of the Currency. He had been Chief of Staff and Public Affairs at the office since October 2005 and became interim Comptroller on August 15, 2010 following John Dugan....

    - (2010 - present)

External links

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