John Walsh became acting comptroller of currency on Sunday, succeeding John Dugan as he completes his five-year term at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

Dugan's departure from the OCC, unveiled earlier in July, was expected on August 14.

"I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as acting Comptroller of the Currency and lead our highly professional staff while President Obama considers his appointment of the 30th Comptroller of the Currency," Walsh said.

"This is an important and challenging period in the 147-year history of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency," he added. "We have much work to do in the coming months, including continued supervision of the national banking system as we emerge from a severe recession; implementation of the many requirements of the new financial reform law, including the transfer of the Office of Thrift Supervision's functions into the OCC; and completion of the Basel III capital accord."

Walsh served as chief of staff and public affairs since 2005, including all aspects of the agency's operations. He joined the OCC from the Group of Thirty, a consultative group that focuses on international economic and monetary affairs, where he served as executive director. Walsh served on the staff of the Senate Banking Committee from 1986 to 1992, and as an international economist for the Treasury Department from 1984 to 1986.

The Treasury's move to pick Walsh skipped the second-in-command at the OCC — Julie Williams — who was appointed chief counsel of the OCC in 1994. She currently serves as first senior deputy comptroller and chief counsel, but previously served as acting comptroller of the currency, first from April to December 1998 and then from October 2004 through August 2005.

The Treasury has issued statements supporting Williams' qualifications for her current role, but neither the Treasury nor the OCC could comment on her qualifications for the acting comptroller role.

Write to Diana Golobay.

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