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In Memoriam: Mark Olson

Mark W. Olson, a banker from Fergus Falls who went on serve on the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve from 2001 to 2006, died Wednesday in Washington, D.C.  He was 75 years old.

Olson began his banking career in 1966 with First Bank System (now U.S. Bancorp.), before joining the family banking business, Security State Bank in Fergus Falls, in 1976.  During his years at the bank, he was actively involved in public policy issues involving the banking industry, serving on the American Bankers Association board of directors.  In 1986, he became the youngest person elected as president of the American Bankers Association.  

He served former U.S. Congressman Bill Frenzel as legislative assistant for banking issues from 1971-72, and as director of his district office for two years, 1974-76.

From 1988 to 1999, Olson served as a partner with Ernst & Young and its predecessor, Arthur Young & Company, where he was national director of the firm’s Regulatory Consulting Practice for the financial services industry.  

Olson served as staff director of the U.S. Senate Securities Subcommittee of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee from 2000-2001, which had jurisdiction over the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Olson to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, filling an unexpired term.  He served as the board’s administrative governor, as Chairman of the Board‘s Committee on Consumer and Community Affairs, as a member of the Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory Affairs, and as a member of the Committee on Federal Reserve Bank Affairs.  He resigned from Board of Governors in 2006 to lead the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board until 2009.   

“Mark Olson was a wonderful husband, father and community banker who never forgot his roots in Fergus Falls,” stated Mark Kennedy, Chairman of the Economic Club.  “Mark was a protege of Bill Frenzel who cared deeply about making policies that helped ‘Main Street’.  He had a terrific sense of humor and was a great mentor to many throughout his years of public service.  He will be greatly missed.”

Olson was a 1965 graduate of St. Olaf College, where he received his bachelor’s degree on economics.  In 2003 he was named a Distinguished Alumni.  

He joined the board of the Economic Club of Minnesota in 2013.  Mark was also a board member of Otter Tail Corporation; a member of Ernst & Young’s Global Advisory Board; a member of the College of William and Mary’s Advisory Board for the Master’s in Accounting program; and the University of Maryland Advisory Board for Financial Policy.

Olson is survived by his wife, Renee Korda, and two children. 

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