James L. Pledger
Jim Pledger is a banking and corporate attorney and a recognized authority on financial institution law and regulation and mortgage regulation and licensing. With more than 35 years of experience, his practice focuses on the regulation and operation of banks, savings banks, credit unions, bank holding companies and mutual holding companies, financial institution public and private equity and debt offerings.
He has been involved in nearly every aspect of financial institution representations, including private law practice since 2003, 15 years as a state S&L and mortgage Commissioner, service as in-house general counsel and a financial industry lobbyist in Washington.
Jim focuses his practice on the regulation and operation of commercial banks, savings associations, savings banks, credit unions and financial institution holding companies, and the regulation of mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers. He has experience in such areas as acquisitions and control of depository institutions and holding companies, the establishment of de novo charters and charter conversions, resolution of supervisory and enforcement matters, transactions with affiliates, loans to one borrower, subsidiary, affiliate and service corporations, and public equity and debt offerings by depository institutions and their holding companies. He has represented financial institutions in mutual to stock conversions and the establishment of mutual holding companies. He also represents financial institutions and mortgage originators in mortgage compliance matters.
In his career, he has been involved in nearly every aspect of financial institution representation. He has served as a primary state banking and mortgage regulator, as in-house counsel for a $5 billion Texas financial institution with substantial mortgage origination and secondary market activities, as a Washington D.C. lobbyist for financial institutions, and author of a comprehensive industry regulatory publication and annotations of financial industry regulations. Since 2003, he has been engaged in the private practice of law at Jackson Walker with emphasis on finance services and mortgage lending.
Jim served as the Texas Savings and Loan Commissioner (1988-2003) and, in that capacity, he was the primary regulator of state savings institutions (combined assets of $16 billion) and their holding companies and over 22,000 Texas mortgage brokers. Jim was also the primary architect of the Texas State Savings Bank Act, which authorized the chartering and regulation of state savings banks in Texas. He was actively involved in the development of the first legislation enacted in Texas for the regulation and licensing of mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers and, beginning in 1999, he was responsible for the development of regulations related to mortgage originator licensing, examination and enforcement in Texas.
During his service as the Texas commissioner, Jim served as a director and chairman of the American Council of State Savings Supervisors, a national trade association of state savings association regulators, and as a director and chairman of the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators, a national trade association of state mortgage regulators, both headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Jim served as a member of the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council State Liaison Committee, 1997-2003. The Committee met quarterly with the Chairman of the FDIC, Comptroller of the Currency, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board, and Directors of the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration and their senior staffs to provide a state perspective on the Council’s development of interagency federal regulations for depository institutions.
He has testified before the United States Congress numerous times regarding financial modernization, bank regulatory reform, and financial institution holding companies. He also testified extensively before the Texas Legislature on banking, agency appropriations, and other legislative issues.
Previously, Jim served as General Counsel of United Savings Association of Texas in Houston, a $5 billion state-wide savings association, and its publicly-traded holding company, United Financial Group, Inc. At the time, United Savings was a leading originator of single-family mortgages and among the most active depository institutions in the secondary mortgage market.
Prior to moving to Texas, Jim also served as Associate General Counsel of the National Savings and Loan League in Washington, D.C., where he served as editor and author of the League’s Manager’s Manual, which included annotations of the regulations applicable to savings association and mortgage lending. He served as author and editor of the League’s Manager’s Manual for more than 13 years.
Since 2006, Jim has been designated annually as one of the Best Lawyers in America for banking and financial services. He has been selected by Best Lawyers as Austin’s Lawyer of the Year for financial services regulation in 2015, 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023, and for banking and finance in 2017.
B.A., The University of South Alabama
J.D., The University of Alabama School of Law