Office of Comptroller of Currency Visits IUP: Finance Seminar Speaker Series

Posted on 2/22/2018 11:44:00 AM

On February 19, 2018, Daniel Lawson’s Seminar in Finance class had the privilege to hear from Jessica Nicholson ’16, MBA ’17, and Scott Jackson, who are assistant national bank examiners for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Nicholson received her bachelor’s degree in 2016 and her master’s degree in 2017, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During her studies, Nicholson also received the Academic Excellence Award for Finance for her outstanding performance in her courses. 

Jessica Nicholson and Scott Jackson in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology

Nicholson and Jackson discussed many aspects of their careers and what life is like while working as assistant national bank examiners for the OCC. The OCC, for those unfamiliar with the organization, is an independent bureau within the US Department of the Treasury responsible for inspecting and regulating national and international banks operating within the United States.

First, Nicholson and Jackson presented a brief overview of the US banking system, such as how it is divided into small, mid-sized, and large-sized banks on both the state and national levels. Being relatively new to their professions, the duo is tasked with giving ratings to small national banks assigned to their Nashville Field Office, but small is a relative term when some of these banks have capital exceeding $1 billion.

Naturally, ratings cannot be derived without some type of system and criteria on which to base the score. From here, the two explained the components that are included when examining these national banks in order to deliver their ratings; they look for capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to market risk, along with some newer technology-related categories such as IT. After grading all of these areas, an assistant national bank examiner is able to give a fair rating on a scale of one to five, one being the best and five being the worst, to the bank. These ratings are not disclosed to the public, but rather are used to determine whether the bank should initiate changes to their practices or if the federal government should intervene.

The presentation concluded with the class doing an Excel activity that closely resembled that which Nicholson and Jackson might have to evaluate and calculate while they are out in the field traveling and evaluating these banks. It appeared that the class did well on the activity and learned some aspects of the job from the speakers.

The students were very appreciative for Jessica Nicholson and Scott Jackson taking the time out of their busy travel schedules to come to IUP to speak to the class.

Senior finance student Mitchell O’Shell had the following comment about the presentation, “Jessica and her coworker, Scott, were able to give us an in-depth look at how evaluation and cooperation between the OCC and banks throughout the United States occurs on a day-to-day basis. Jessica’s education from IUP’s Eberly College of Business and Information Technology’s Finance Department gave her the opportunity to thrive in a diverse and continually changing environment. The economy changes every second, and, without upkeep of the strong hold of our monetary supply, banks need to be continually monitored. Jessica truly has a fascinating job and contributes to our countries financial stability every day.” 

Senior finance student Robert Schwartz said, “Jessica Nicholson and Scott Jackson provided a quality example of the important work done to ensure the stability of our banking system. IUP’s connection with the OCC will continue to grow as Eberly offers promising graduates eager to make a difference in the financial environment of tomorrow.”

Senior finance student Michael Hoare had this to say, “It was great to meet and hear from Scott Jackson and Jessica Nicholson in our financial seminar class. They were very knowledgeable about bank examining and excited to present in front of us. Moreover, I thought it was especially thoughtful of them to mention potential job opportunities at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. As a student looking for employment, it meant a lot. Overall, it was great to meet and listen to both Scott and Jessica today as they were very informative and thoughtful.”

Finally, Luke Milcic had these kind words, “The presentation was an informative learning experience that I am glad I attended. Learning how bank examiners worked gave me new insight on how banks are evaluated and their financial position among other banks in the United States.”

On behalf of the Seminar in Finance class and Eberly College of Business and Information Technology as a whole, we would once again like to express our gratitude for Jessica Nicholson and Scott Jackson coming to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and giving an excellent presentation on their lives working as assistant national bank examiners for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

—Lucas McCarthy