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150th Anniversary of the OCC: How Honest Abe Built Banks to Save America

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1) How Honest Abe Built Banks To Save America (NAPS)—Many Americans may be surprised to learn a littleknown fact about Abraham Lin­ coln that may still be helping them today. If you’re like most people, you think of a bank as a place to safely store your money or to get a loan. Modern banks do provide such services, but there’s more to the story—and to their history. Then President Abraham Lincoln saw banks as vital to an America prosperous, united and strong. In 1863, while the Civil War was tearing the country apart, Lincoln feared that the dream of America as a model of opportunity for all humanity might be lost. So Lincoln and Congress worked to knit the country back together. They sponsored railroads, which reached places unserved by other dependable transportation at the time. They donated federal lands for colleges, not for the elite but for the many, to promote practical science. From these laboratories came ideas that helped farmers make the prairies bloom “with amber waves of grain.” The new railroads brought that grain, and lots more, to the millions of peo­ ple in cities, east and west. Farm­ ers prospered and so did con­ sumers. Over time, they began to see that their futures were tied together. Building a nation required a robust financial system. It demanded a common currency that a nation could exchange with confidence. That’s why Lincoln and Congress created a new sys­ tem of national banks to power the nation’s economic engine. America’s modern banking sys­ tem is just one of the many legacies left by Abraham Lincoln and his government. Lincoln knew that banks had to operate under strict rules and over­ sight. To administer this system of banks, he created an independent regulator—the Office of the Comp­ troller of the Currency (OCC)—to keep banks safe and sound and make sure they obeyed the laws, so they could support business, con­ sumers and communities. Now Today, Lincoln’s federal bank­ ing system includes nearly 2,000 national banks and federal sav­ ings associations. Most are com­ munity banks. They continue to play an important role in the nation’s economy by providing savings, credit and financing to support businesses, communities and families across the country. Learn More You can find more facts about the federal banking system and the OCC at www.occ.gov. Did You Know? Abraham Lincoln knew banks need strict rules and over­ sight. He created an independ­ ent regulator—the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)—to keep banks safe and sound, so they could support business, consumers and com­ munities. Learn more at www.occ.gov. Many Americans may be sur­ prised to learn a little-known fact about Abraham Lincoln that may still be helping them today. /// How Honest Abe Built Banks To Save America