Former OCC head dies at 88

John D. Hawke, Jr.

Former Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke, Jr., a longtime banking leader and educator, died earlier this month at the age of 88. 

Hawke, comptroller from December 1998 until October 2004, previously served for three and a half years as undersecretary of the treasury for domestic finance, where he oversaw the development of policy and legislation for financial institutions, debt management and capital markets. He was also the chair of the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Steering Committee and a board member on the Securities Investor Protection Corp.  

Hawke, an Air Force veteran, graduated from Yale University in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He graduated in 1960 from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review. 

A lawyer, Hawke was a senior partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm Arnold & Porter and headed the Financial Institutions practice, first joining as an associate in 1962. He eventually served as chair of the firm, from 1987-1995. In the 1970s, he briefly left the firm to serve as general counsel to the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve System. 

Hawke also had extensive experience as a professor: From 1970-1987, he taught courses on federal regulation of banking at the Georgetown University Law Center. He also taught classes on bank acquisitions and financial regulation and served as the chair of the board of advisors at Boston University School of Law’s Morin Center for Banking Law Studies.