I met Bob Serino in 1975. He was my first real boss. I was a recent law school graduate working in the enforcement and compliance division of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
He was, without a question, the best boss anyone could ever hope to have. He supported you thoroughly and was a great mentor. In my first week on the job, Bob asked me if I wanted to sit in on an investigatory deposition of a banker who was suspected of wrongdoing. It sounded exciting and I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, the beginning of the deposition was relatively boring, so I sat back, slumped in my chair and waited for something to happen. After a while, Bob started to get into the more serious and sensitive questions. So, I sat up and started feverishly taking notes. It was then when I felt this kick to my shin under the table. It was a humbling, but instructive lesson and one that I thank him for.
When things went well with one of your cases, Bob would praise you to the sky. When things did not go well, he never reprimanded you; he just became quiet and you knew you wanted to strive harder to please him—not for any ulterior motive, but because that is what he deserved.
Bob was always mindful of doing the right thing and that was the understood motivating factor in everything we did.
Bob was also prescient. I remember him railing over the speaker phone at a banking supervisory located somewhere in the Caribbean for promoting and licensing shell banks—which were allowed to do business anywhere in the world, but just not in that Caribbean location. It was, in essence, a license to steal from everyone except those who lived on that particular Caribbean island. It was not until the USA PATRIOT Act was passed 26 years later that U.S. banks were finally prohibited from having direct or indirect correspondent accounts with shell banks.
We will all greatly miss his friendship and his leadership.
Tribute written by: Bob Pasley
Contributions in Bob Serino’s memory may be made to the Amyloidosis Research Fund, 72 E. Concord Street, K503, Boston 02118 or online at http://www.bu.edu/amyloid/donate/.