Comptroller of the Currency Resigns : C. Todd Conover Had Approved ‘Non-Bank Banks’
C. Todd Conover, comptroller of the currency, whose approval of limited-service “non-bank banks” drew stiff congressional criticism, said today that he will resign in the spring.
Conover said he will return to the private sector but is not sure yet what he will do. “I’m sure I’ll find something interesting to keep me busy,” he said.
His term as supervisor of the country’s federally chartered commercial banks was to run through 1986.
His practice of approving the new type of limited-service banking institutions was challenged in federal court in Jacksonville, Fla., last month, and Conover, 44, has agreed not to give final approval to any more “non-bank banks” pending resolution of that case.
A “non-bank bank” avoids certain federal restrictions by either not making commercial loans or by not accepting demand deposits--a deposit that can be withdrawn on demand without advance notice, such as with a checking account. Federal law defines a bank as an institution that does both.
There had been speculation in the banking industry for more than a year that Conover wanted to leave his government post.
Sits on FDIC Board
As comptroller, he supervises the country’s 4,700 federally chartered commercial banks, including such giants as Citibank and other huge institutions that are at the forefront of pushing bank deregulation.
He also is one of the three members of the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures individual deposits up to $100,000 in federally chartered banks.
FDIC Chairman William M. Isaac, who has worked closely with Conover on developing solutions for banks threatened with failure, already said he intends to leave his post, although he has not yet set a date.
The third director of the FDIC, Irvine H. Sprague, is expected to leave at the end of his term in a few months.
The comptroller of the currency works under the Treasury Department, but is essentially an independent operation.
Conover has come under particularly harsh criticism from House Banking Committee Chairman Fernand J. St Germain (D-R.I.).
When Congress convened this week, St Germain introduced legislation to undo Conover’s approval of dozens of non-bank banks, referring to the institutions as “back-alley, half-a-bank schemes.”
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