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Top Story: Major Event in Boston Closes the OCC's Sesquicentennial Year
By Jesse Stiller
The final event in the OCC’s 150th anniversary year was the only one open to the general public. And on March 31, 2014, some 300 people and more than 20 media representatives, drawn by an extraordinary collection of policy makers and leaders from the worlds of banking and bank regulation, came to Boston to attend the conference, “Building on 150 Years: the Future of National Banking.” The conference was co-sponsored by the OCC and the Boston University Center for Finance, Law & Policy.
Previous events associated with the 150th anniversary focused largely on the agency’s remarkable history. But the 150th anniversary planning committee decided that the Boston conference should focus on the future. The Center for Finance and its director, Cornelius Hurley, shared that view and were eager to join the OCC as partners and underwriters for the Boston event.
The OCC and the Boston University Center for Finance, Law & Policy cosponsored the March 31 conference, “Building on 150 Years: the Future of National Banking.” Participating in one of the conference’s sessions were Boston University’s Cornelius Hurley, Chief Counsel Amy Friend, former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd, and former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank. Photo by Frank Curran.
In his keynote address, Comptroller Thomas J. Curry drew upon OCC history for insights into the future. Perhaps the key lesson, he said, related to the importance of fundamentals for bankers and bank supervisors. He harked back to founding Comptroller Hugh McCulloch’s famous 1863 “Advice to Bankers,” which reminded holders of the first national bank charters to “[P]ursue a straightforward, upright, legitimate banking business,” with an emphasis on high ethical standards. Equally important to a safe and sound banking system, the Comptroller said, was the contribution of “seasoned [supervisory] professionals who bring the benefit of sound judgment and years of experience to their work. That’s a truth,” he concluded, “that has been demonstrated countless times over the last 150 years.”
In the sessions that followed, former Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Gerald Corrigan, former OCC Deputy Chief Counsel Raymond Natter, and former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair had a vigorous exchange of viewpoints on the question, “Are Banks Still Special?”
Graciously filling in for former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, who became ill the day before the conference, 27th Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig together with John Reed, the former Citicorp Chairman, shared thoughts on how best to maintain a vibrant banking system that protects taxpayers and the economy.
One of the highlights of the day was the appearance of the two primary authors of the landmark banking legislation of 2010. Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank shared observations on the inner history of the act that bears their names in a session expertly moderated by OCC Chief Counsel Amy Friend.
FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig and Tim Pawlenty, President of the Bankers Roundtable and former governor of Minnesota, offered differing “Perspectives on Too-Big-to-Fail.” And the closing session, titled “The Future of Banking,” brought together three of the most qualified speakers in their respective areas of interest. Camden Fine, President of the Independent Community Bankers of America, discussed the future of community banking; Sharon Bowles, Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, discussed globalization; and Karen Shaw Petrou, an independent analyst, spoke about disintermediation.
Last Updated: 04/17/2014