Former Florida Comptroller Gerald Lewis dies at age 87

by | Jan 31, 2022 | Fiba News

It is with the greatest sadness that we inform you of the passing of Gerald Lewis, former Florida Comptroller.

Gerald Alvin “Jerry” Lewis (born March 31, 1934) was an American attorney who was the 26th Comptroller of the State of Florida, servicing from January 7, 1975, to January 3, 1995, considered the longest-serving Comptroller in the State’s history.

He attended and graduated with an A.B. degree in 1955 and a Law Degree (LL.B.) in 1960 from Harvard University. In the interim, he spent two years on active duty as a paratrooper with the United States Army, attaining the rank of captain.

Gerald Lewis won the state’s Comptroller seat in 1974 and held it for 20 years. He was an assistant state attorney and county attorney in Miami-Dade, then succeeded state Comptroller Fred “Bud” Dickinson in 1974. Lewis headed the Department of Banking and Finance for 20 years.

During his tenure as Comptroller, he signed the first 92 International Banking Licenses from 1978-1994. Another important aspect of his leadership was that he was adamant about closing Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) even when the Federal Government wanted the bank to continue open. He also served a stint as chairman of the National Conference of State Banking Supervisors and traveled internationally to encourage foreign banks to open offices in Florida. He approved the creation of FIBA and the use of the word Bankers.

For FIBA’s 40th Anniversary in 2019, he sent the following congratulatory message, which showed he followed FIBA’s accomplishments long after his departure as Comptroller in 1995.

“I have been given the opportunity to speak to the members of FIBA on your 40th anniversary. I think the most exciting experience of my career in the state government was the experience of working with you and all the others involved in international banking. It was an educational experience for me and it was such a wonderful thing for Miami in particular but the state of Florida in general. I thank you and wish you the best on your anniversary. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share that experience with you.”

Gerald was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.

Thanks to his vision, mission, and accomplishments as Comptroller, we are a recognized Global Banking Center.

David Schwartz

FIBAPresident & CEO