Comptroller of the Currency: Who Is Thomas Curry?
In the midst of an ongoing economic crisis many economists blame on reckless behavior by banks and other Wall Street financial players, President Barack Obama on July 2, 2011, named an experienced state-level bank regulator to serve as the new Comptroller of the Currency The head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) serves as the chief bank regulator and fiscal watchdog for most of the banking industry. Curry’s Senate confirmation hearing was held n July 26, but he has yet to be confirmed.
As part of the Treasury Department, OCC supervises national banks, enforces federal banking laws, rules on new charter and merger applications for national banks, and conducts basic research on banking and the economy. Approximately two-thirds of all banking assets in the United States come under the supervision of the OCC, including those of bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. During the current banking crisis brought on by the collapse of the mortgage industry, the OCC has had to step in and take control of banks on the verge of failure. It also has been accused of helping to create the problem with the mortgage crisis through its failure to properly regulate.
Born September 1, 1957, in Greenwich, Connecticut, Curry is a 1978 graduate of Manhattan College, and earned his law degree from the New England School of Law in 1981. He entered public service in 1982 as an attorney with the Massachusetts Secretary of State. Curry’s career soon turned toward bank regulation when he joined the Massachusett’s Division of Banks in 1986.
From 1986 to 1987, he was Assistant General Counsel, and from 1987 to 1994, he served as First Deputy Commissioner of Banks, coinciding with the New England banking crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Curry served as Acting Commissioner from February 1994 to June 1995, and as Commissioner of Banks from 1995-2003, which made him the chief bank regulator in Massachusetts.
In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Curry for a six-year term (beginning January 12, 2004) as a member of the board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the independent federal agency responsible for insuring deposits in banks and other thrift institutions. Curry also served as chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors from 2000 to 2001, as a member of the State Liaison Committee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council from 1996 to 2003, and as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to aid in neighborhood revitalization.
Curry is a member of the Connecticut and Massachusetts Bars.
Official From F.D.I.C. Picked To Lead Banking Regulator (by Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times)
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