James C. Watkins


James C. Watkins has nearly four decades of domestic and international bank regulatory experience.

James may be the only senior official to have served the FDIC through the bank and thrift crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the Great Recession’s financial and banking crisis of 2008 to 2013, and the pandemic of 2020. He is a recognized expert on crisis management, credit risk assessments, liquidity strategies, operational risks, bank stress testing, resolution plans, prudential regulatory standards, and complex regulatory applications. James also has expertise in community banking and the formation of new banks.

Previously, Jim was Senior Deputy Director of Supervisory Examinations leading all FDIC safety and soundness programs nationally.  In this capacity, he led units responsible for the regulatory and deposit insurance oversight of community and large banks.  Jim was a key advisor to the Chairman, Board members, and others on significant policy initiatives; complex, unique or sensitive matters; banking conditions and trends, and strategies for addressing troubled banks.

Regulatory programs overseen under his authority included remediation for severely troubled institutions and organizations, leadership of Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) activities, issuance of enforcement actions on culpable individuals, development of the current large bank examination strategies, and processing of complex applications. He has also participated in international policy development while he represented the FDIC as a member of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s Supervision and Implementation Group.

Jim, a CPA, holds an M.B.A. from University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management and a B.S., cum laude, from James Madison University. He is also a graduate of the Stonier School of Banking.