Adieu, Dugan

Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan officially announced his departure date on Thursday, saying he would stay until Aug. 14.

Dugan's five-year term expires Aug. 4, but Dugan needs the 10 extra days to focus on unfinished work.

In a letter to President Obama announcing his plans, he listed accomplishments during his tenure and touted the improved condition of the banking industry.

"While the financial system continues to face significant challenges, national banks have stabilized, confidence has improved markedly and institutions are now in a much stronger position to help fund economic recovery," Dugan wrote. "This resilience of the national banking system is partly the result of the unstinting efforts of the men and women at the OCC."

Among his accomplishments, he included the agency's management of the financial crisis, tougher guidelines for nontraditional mortgages, the stress tests of the largest banks and a push for stronger underwriting standards. Dugan praised the OCC's efforts to mitigate commercial real estate lending concentration but said more still needs to be done in that area.

One of Dugan's predecessors, Eugene A. Ludwig, echoed the sentiments in the letter and lauded Dugan. "I tip my hat to him — he has presided over some of the most trying times imaginable for a comptroller, and has exhibited integrity and leadership every step of the way," Ludwig, now the CEO of Promontory Financial Group, wrote in an e-mail to American Banker.

The administration is expected to name Dugan's successor soon.

'Hell'-thy Choice

Robert Clarke, another former comptroller of the currency, and Kevin Rhein, an executive at Wells Fargo & Co., are among the newest board members at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which last year decided to open its trustee board to include "at-large national thought leaders" on financial responsibility.

Clarke — once known as the "regulator from hell" for being tough on banks during his tenure as comptroller from 1985 to 1992 — has been with the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani since leaving the OCC. Rhein oversees operations for Wells' card services and consumer lending, and in 2008 joined the Federal Reserve Board's Consumer Advisory Council. They join new NFCC board appointees Nelson Diaz, a former general counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Ivan Hand, the chief executive of the nonprofit counseling organization Money Management International.

NFCC trustees previously were limited to representatives of the national nonprofit's members. But the members voted last fall to have a majority of the board seats filled by outside experts.

Hailing the Chiefs

When CIT Group reports its earnings at the end of this month, there could be some new voices on the call. Five CIT executives with "chief" in front of his or her name have come on board in the past two and a half months.

A quick rundown includes Chief Auditing Officer Michael Roemer (last at American International Group Inc.) Chief Risk Officer Lisa Polsky (from Jane Street Capital), Chief Administrative Officer Nelson Chai (last at Merill Lynch & Co. and then Bank of America Corp.), Chief Credit Officer Robert Rowe (from FirstMerit Corp.) and Chief Financial Officer Scott Parker (from Cerberus Operations and Advisory Co.).

CEO John Thain, 55, is the company's oldest executive, and the average age of the five hires is barely over 47.

Privacy Shield

Last week, the New York State Democratic Party asked JPMorgan Chase & Co. to divulge the compensation and job perks for its former chief lobbyist, and current New York Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rick Lazio.

Asking the company to help Democrats tar Lazio with his banking connections seemed a bit presumptuous, and apparently JPMorgan Chase felt the same. In a letter posted on the New York Daily News' website, human resources executive John Donnelly responded that it intended to protect Lazio's privacy.

"We respect the privacy of our employees," Donnelly wrote, though he noted that Lazio is on unpaid leave and has no access to company resources. Moreover, he's already stated that he will release his tax returns, the letter noted, "so it will appear that in any event they will become available."

The New York Dems, however, are trying to wring a little more attention out of this one. As the chairman of the party wrote in a follow-up letter, "the interest of New Yorkers in reviewing the fitness and conflicts of a prospective officeholder is far greater" than Lazio's privacy.

Subtitles Cost Extra

Talk about an interesting job.

Tim Larkin, the founder of Target Focus Training, teaches self-defense skills to executives and celebrities. Three weeks ago, he was invited to speak to a group of bankers in London, teaching British executives from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and others how to tell the difference between antisocial behavior and legitimate threats from antagonists. He would not discuss specific executives who have hired him.

Larkin first started training bank executives a decade ago as overseas expansion accelerated and some bankers had their first exposure to dangers such as kidnappings, thefts and instances of burglars "kicking in doors at five-star hotels," he said in an interview. He quickly added, "I'm not looking to turn anyone into a ninja or anything."

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