Regulator from Bank Family: Barton Moves Up in the OCC

When the late Kathryn Barton was president of a small bank in Wink, Tex., at times she could be heard muttering a few choice words to express her attitude toward bank examiners.

Last week, though, her son, Jimmy F., was named deputy comptroller of the currency. In September he'll take charge of the multinational banking division, which monitors the eight largest federally chartered banks as well as branches of foreign banks.

|A Very Daunting Task'

It also oversees the participation of the Comptroller's office in the Shared National Credit Program, a joint regulatory effort to annually review the large loans shared by two or more banks.

"I'm very excited about the position, but it is a very daunting task," said Mr. Barton, who is 45.

The responsibilities are in stark contrast with Mr. Barton's banking-family background. After working at a bank in Lubbock, while attending Texas Technical University, Mr. Barton joined the Comptroller's office in 1970. He didn't care for bank work, finding the focus too narrow. Instead, he was intrigued with the art of bank examination because of the broader view it afforded of the industry.

In 1975, Mr. Barton worked in Washington in the agency's division that oversees problem banks. Two years later, he was assigned to the London office, which examines the overseas operations of big national banks.

From 1979 to 1985, he attained positions of increasing responsibility in Texas, including director of special surveillance, field manager, and multinational examiner.

After another stint in London, in 1987 he became deputy director of multinational and regional bank supervision in the Comptroller's Washington office.

Musical Chairs

Mr. Barton's promotion goes into effect on Sept. 15. He will replace Stephen Steinbrink, who was named senior deputy comptroller for banking supervision operations. Mr. Steinbrink will replace Dean Marriott, who will leave for a post in Texas.

Mr. Barton's new bailiwick includes shaky giants like the national bank units of Citicorp and Bank of Boston Corp. as well as Wells Fargo & Co. and Security Pacific Corp., whose problems have surged in recent days.

Mr. Barton said the problems of West Coast banks - most of whose real estate loans are relatively stable, single-family mortgages - will not be as devastating as those experienced in New England and Texas.

Although the multinational division is one of the most critical within the Office of the Comptroller, it has been upset by turnover. Mr. Barton is the third to be appointed deputy comptroller of the OCC's multinational division in the last 18 months.

"We have seen several good people leave us. We certainly need to hang on to the good people we have," Mr. Barton said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.