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History: The Life and Times of the Bank Examiner

The National Bank Act required national banks to submit regular reports of condition for the OCC’s use in verifying their safety and soundness. The Act also required the OCC to conduct an on-site examination of every national bank and to prepare “a full and detailed report” on its condition. To satisfy this requirement, the early OCC essentially became an organization of bank examiners with a small headquarters staff to coordinate their activities and address matters of policy.

Examiners, especially in more sparsely populated states, spent much of their time traveling from one bank to the next, often under trying circumstances. Although the largest, most complex national banks today are overseen by full-time cadres of OCC examiners, the majority of national banks are smaller, community-based institutions, and their direct supervision is carried out by examiners who, like their predecessors, are responsible for the direct supervision of a portfolio of national banks in a particular part of the country.

Notable National Bank Examiners

  • Roland Burris – The first African-American national bank examiner.
  • Joe Hooks – A senior national bank examiner who participated in some of the most important supervisory actions in recent OCC history.
  • Don Stephens – A veteran examiner of national bank trust activities.
  • Victor Del Tredici – A national bank examiner’s courageous stand against a fraud-riddled bank.

Bank Examiners in Literature and Film

A bank examiner plays a central role in the short story "Friends in San Rosario," written by the American writer O. Henry. You can read the story online at Project Gutenberg.

The story was made into a film by Selig Pictures in 1917.

Exhibits on OCC People