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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Update: Scandal-Plagued Daly City Banking Regulator Confirms Resignation

Posted By and on Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Office of Thrift Supervision
Darrel Dochow

Darrel Dochow, the banking regulator found to have allowed IndyMac Bank to falsify financial records just before the Southern California lender collapsed last summer, confirmed in an e-mail that he will resign his post in March.

In his resignation letter, Dochow notes that upon retirement he will receive a pension amounting to 35 percent of the pay he received while serving as a top banking regulator. 

That money will tide him over while he "explore(s) other career opportunities," Dochow wrote in a message to staff.

Academics and former banking officials who spoke to SF Weekly have characterized Dochow's actions prior to his resignation announcement as abetting a type of fraud that may have extended the life of an insolvent savings and loan, and added billions of dollars to banking losses. Dochow had made a name for himself even before the U.S. Department of the Treasury Inspector General revealed the allegations.

Dochow was among Reagan-era appointees involved in an attempted coverup of the 1980s savings and loan debacle. He was disgraced when Congressional hearings exposed his role undermining low-level regulators' attempts to expose accounting irregularities at insolvent banks. Dochow enjoyed a second act as he rose to again serve as a top banking regulator during the deregulation-minded administration of George W. Bush.

Dochow, formerly Daly City-based West Region Director for the Office of Thrift Supervision, was revealed last month to have allowed IndyMac Bank to record an $18 million transfer from its holding company as if it had occured before March 31. In fact, the money had been allocated five weeks later. The falsification of records allowed IndyMac to report that it was "well capitalized," and thus solvent enough to remain in business. The bank collapsed months later, and is expected to cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) $9.4 billion. Thousands of depositors, who had entrusted the bank with amounts greater than the FDIC $100,000 insurance limit, have suffered losses that in some reported cases have totaled tens of thousands of dollars.

It has since come to light that the Office of Thrift Supervision, the primary regulator of all Federal and state-chartered savings institutions, had authorized similar fraudulent backdating at four other institutions.

A letter from Dochow to staff, forwarded from a bank-regulation insider, follows. SF Weekly has sent a letter to Dochow asking whether the memo is authentic. Dochow responded by saying he was indeed retiring.

I wanted to let you know that I have decided to retire from OTS. My announcement to staff is below:

Subject: Retirement

Dear colleagues:

I have decided to retire. I made the decision this morning with mixed emotions, but hope it is best for me and OTS. I have had the privilege of supervising and examining thrifts and banks for over 36 years. During my career I poured myself into the work and have seen tremendous personal highs and several difficult lows. One of the highs has been the opportunity to work with each and every one of you. You are the best. You are extremely talented, hard working, and sincerely dedicated and caring. You can be proud of what you do and all that you have accomplished during both good and bad economic times. I must admit that being singled out for a series of highly personal attacks after the failure of a prominent thrift has been painful, but I have been humbled by the tremendous support and words of encouragement by many people who truly know me and the job that I have done over the years. Thank you to everyone. For those of you who wonder what my plans are, I hope to explore other career opportunities to supplement the 35% of salary that my retirement benefit provides. I also know that I am expected to finally tackle the many projects that have stacked up around home. My last day will be February 26, even though my retirement will technically begin after the end of the first full pay period in March. An email address that I can be reached at after March 14, 2009 is (REDACTED). I wish you all the very best in these difficult times and God bless.


Darrel Dochow

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