Statement on the Passing of the 23rd Comptroller of the Currency James E. Smith

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News Release 2020-127 | September 23, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks issued the following statement upon learning of the passing of James E. Smith, the 23rd Comptroller of the Currency.

Today, the OCC family and banking industry lost a giant with the passing of the 23rd Comptroller of the Currency James E. Smith.

Comptroller Smith had a distinguished career that included serving as Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury before being named Comptroller by President Richard Nixon.

Comptroller Smith led the agency during a period of great change, adjusting to the explosive growth of the banking industry during the 1960s and 1970s. He worked to transform and modernize the agency’s approach to supervision. The new approach he pioneered continues in our existing practices that emphasize the assessment of a bank’s policies, procedures, decision making, risk management, and management information system. Even more importantly, he was a champion of the agency’s employees and their training and career development.

Comptroller Smith remained an active part of the OCC alumni community for decades following his tenure.

He will be missed but not forgotten.

Media Contact

Bryan Hubbard
(202) 649-6870






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