WASHINGTON, DC (September 27, 2004) – Ralph E. Sharpe has joined VenableLLP as Of Counsel from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where he was a Deputy Comptroller. During a career in which he held an impressive number of senior-level policy and legal posts at the OCC, Mr. Sharpe helped guide the nation’s banking system through over two decades of frequent turbulence and regulatory paradigm shifts.
His twenty-six year career with the OCC was capped off as the agency’s chief representative for inter-agency financial and banking infrastructure protection efforts ordered by President Bush after 9/11. Along with a team from the Federal Reserve Board, the SEC and other federal agencies, Mr. Sharpe helped create and implement policies to address vulnerabilities of the U.S. financial services sector. He also acted as the liaison between the Treasury Department and all financial service regulators for Homeland Security. In his three senior-level policy roles, Mr. Sharpe was one of the highest-ranking lawyers at the OCC working amidst professional bank examiners.
In the mid ‘90s, as Deputy Comptroller for Multinational Banking, he supervised the ten largest national banks holding the majority of the assets of the national banking system.
Mr. Sharpe will head Venable’s Financial Services Group Risk Management and Compliance Team, which provides the full range of legal and consulting services to banks and savings associations: legal and compliance audits, management studies, responses to supervisory and enforcement actions, and expert witnessing and litigation support services. Mr. Sharpe is resident in Venable’s Washington, DC office.
“Ralph is coming off of an extraordinary career as a bank regulator,” said Ronald Glancz, who chairs Venable’s Financial Services Group. “With all the new laws passed in the compliance area, from the Patriot Act to Sarbanes-Oxley and the FACT Act, financial institutions need to make sure they keep up. With Ralph’s background heading the Enforcement, Multinational, Technology, and Consumer Divisions of the OCC, he is the perfect person to lead our Risk Management and Compliance Team and to make an immediate impact with our financial services clients.”
Mr. Sharpe joins a Venable group that already includes a number of former bank regulators from OCC; the Federal Reserve Board; the predecessor to the Office of Thrift Supervision; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. “Our depth in the bank regulatory and compliance areas is second to none,” Mr. Glancz said.
All told, Mr. Sharpe’s policy and regulatory positions with the OCC conferred top-level responsibility for technology, community and consumer policy, and supervision of multinational banking. From 1984 to 1994, he was Director of the Enforcement & Compliance Division, during a period marked by serious jeopardy for the banking system as overextension of real estate loans led to numerous bank failures.
“The landscape has gone through another major change since 9/11,” Mr. Sharpe said. “Of course, security has always been an issue, but not to this extent and at the level of complexity brought on by rapid technology advances and the threat of terrorism. In addition, anti-money laundering efforts will continue to be a major focus in the regulatory area, as long as there is a perception that terrorists have a potential to abuse the banking system. On top of these issues are all of the changes brought on by the nation’s shifting economy.”
“After my public service career, I wanted to go to a law firm where I could continue to make an impact and help the banking system meet ongoing challenges,” he added. “Venable already had a strong financial services practice and a number of former regulators, including some attorneys who I have known for many years.”
Mr. Sharpe is a member of the D.C. Bar, and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, and various United States Courts of Appeals and District Courts. A former member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps, he held the rank of Captain and served as a Defense Appellate Attorney practicing before the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.
Among his skills, he is a private pilot, and he also works with stained glass.
He received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1974; he also completed his undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
A photo of Ralph E. Sharpe is available on request.
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