WASHINGTON — Monday marked the 150th anniversary of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a landmark the agency noted by touting its accomplishments.

President Lincoln founded the OCC in 1863 by signing the National Currency Act, making it the oldest bank regulatory agency in the country. (The Federal Reserve Board is the second oldest, created in December 1913.)

"The OCC has a long heritage of public service, regulating and supervising national banks and now federal savings associations," said Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry in a press release. "I am especially proud to lead the agency as it achieves this milestone in its distinguished history."

Curry, who joined the agency last spring, is the 30th comptroller of the OCC. The OCC, along with the recently launched Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, operates under a single director rather than a board — a topic that has spurred debate among lawmakers.

The first comptroller, Hugh McCulloch, held the position from 1863 to 1865. During that time, the National Bank Act was passed, allowing the OCC to periodically examine national banks.

Another pivotal moment for the OCC occurred in 2011, when the Office of Thrift Supervision was eliminated and merged with the OCC, leaving the agency in charge of all federally chartered thrifts.

The agency now oversees more than 1,800 national banks and federal savings associations across the country. Nearly 90% of those institutions are community banks holding less than $1 billion of assets.

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