Mark W. Olson was sworn in as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on December 7, 2001. He left the post on June 30, 2006.
Olson was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Saint Olaf College in 1965.
Olson joined First Bank System (now US Bancorp) and was named as an officer in 1969. He joined Congressman Bill Frenzel’s (R-MN) staff as a legislative assistant for banking issues in 1971. Three years later, he served as director of Frenzel’s Minnesota district office.
In 1976, Olson was named president and chief executive officer of Security State Bank in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Olson’s father had been the lead organizer in chartering Security State Bank in 1957. While serving as president of the bank, he also served on the American Bankers Association (ABA) board of directors and as chairman of the ABA Government Relation Council. In 1986, Olson was elected president of the ABA.
From 1988 to 1999, Olson served as the national director of Ernst & Young LLP’s regulatory consulting practice for the financial services industry. In 1991, he was selected to join a year-long Treasury Department effort to assist Eastern European bankers in adopting a free-market economy. In 2000, Olson became the staff director of the Securities Subcommittee of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee for the US Senate.
In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Olson for the Board of Governors. During his time at the Board, Olson served in a variety of capacities, including administrative governor, chairman of the Committee on Consumer and Community Affairs, and as a member of the Committee on Supervisory and Regulatory Affairs and the Committee on Federal Reserve Bank Affairs. He also served as the Federal Reserve System’s representative on the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (in 2005 renamed “NeighborWorks America”), which was created by Congress to assist in the revitalization of urban residential neighborhood.
During his tenure, Olson delivered a series of noteworthy speeches, including "Observation on the Evolution of the Financial Services Industry and Public Policy," "Basel II: Its Implication for Second-Tier and Community Size Banks," and "Increased Availability of Financial Products and the Need for Improved Financial Literacy."
After leaving the Board of Governors, Olson became chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to protect investors by overseeing the audits of public companies. In September 2009, Olson joined Corporate Risk Advisors LLC, a Washington, DC-based consulting, compliance, and strategic advisory firm specializing financial services industry, as cochairman.
Olson and his wife, Renee, have two children.
Written by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See disclaimer.