150Th Anniversary of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currencyby Former Representative Spencer Bachus
Posted on 2013-02-08
in the house of representatives
Friday, February 8, 2013
Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the 150th
anniversary of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The OCC
is the oldest regulatory agency in the federal government.
President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the National Currency Act on February 25, 1863. The National Currency Act created a new system of locally owned, federally-chartered and -supervised financial institutions and a new position in the Treasury Department, the Comptroller of the Currency, to oversee their safety and soundness.
The National Currency Act became law during the Civil War, which by 1863 had already proven far more costly in blood and treasure than anyone had imagined at the war's outset. Because the act required newly chartered banks to purchase U.S. government bonds to secure their obligations, it brought millions of dollars to the Treasury, helping to ensure that the troops and those who furnished their food and equipment would not go unpaid.
But for Lincoln, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, and their allies in Congress, the system ushered in by the National Currency Act was also the fulfillment of a dream to truly unite the country into a vast national market in which a reliable money supply flowed freely from state to state and region to region, stimulating commerce, communication, and a sense of mutual engagement in the enterprise of growth and prosperity for all.
For the past 150 years, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has aided in advancing the great American enterprise. Over that long period, national bank examiners and those who support their work have exemplified professionalism and integrity.
With skill, steadiness, and good judgment, the men and women of the OCC have helped steer the nation's banking system through crisis. During the Great Depression, OCC examiners worked day and night to reorganize banks and reopen them to the public. The banking system went on to play a major part in financing the American war effort between 1941 and 1945, and the rebuilding of the war-torn world thereafter. During the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, the OCC helped shore up the banking system and its recovery, so that banks could resume the vital functions they perform in support of America's businesses and communities.
Since 2011, the OCC has also been responsible for the supervision of federal savings associations, whose support of housing finance has made it possible for millions of Americans to enjoy the benefits of home ownership.
Now, whereas Congress approved, and President Abraham Lincoln signed, the National Currency Act of 1863, creating the federal banking system and the position of Comptroller of the Currency; and whereas the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has served the people of the United States with distinction, ensuring a safe and sound national banking system to support American business, consumers, and communities, Congress hereby congratulates the OCC on its 150th anniversary and wishes it continued success in the accomplishment of its important mission.