WASHINGTON -- A former Milwaukee banker has been suspended for one year from the municipal and government securities business, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced yesterday.

James R. Wartinbee Sr., formerly senior vice president of First Bank in Milwaukee, agreed to the suspension without admitting or denying allegations by the comptroller's office that he violated provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

Specifically, the comptroller's office charged that Mr. Wartinbee promised customers the securities he sold them would be repurchased by the bank at the purchase price, effectively shielding the investors from market declines. The comptroller's office did not specify the amount of bonds and other securities involved. Moreover, Mr. Wartinbee allegedly did not report the commitments to the bank.

The comptroller's office said Mr. Wartinbee was not authorized to commit the bank to such obligations and said the deals placed First Bank at financial risk.

According to the comptroller's office, the alleged violations occurred from 1986 to 1989 and did not result in actual losses to the bank. But the bank did not receive revenues from the commissions generated by Mr. Wartinbee's activities.

Mr. Wartinbee retired from the bank in 1989. In order to associate with a municipal or government securities dealer once his suspension is completed, Mr. Wartinbee will be required to pass a qualifiying examination.

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