Irvine Sprague

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Person.png Irvine SpragueRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Irvine H. Sprague.jpg
BornSan Francisco
DiedArllington, Virginia, USA
Cause of death

Irvine H. Sprague was a chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

After he retired as chairman of the FDIC, he described in his book "Bailout" how he worked his way through 374 bank failures. "The truth is that big banks are treated differently from small ones," Sprague wrote in 1986. "The tiny handful of mega-banks engaged in international endeavors enjoy particularly favored treatment. . . . Adding insult to injury, the smaller banks are in effect subsidizing the larger brothers, their most feared competitors." [1]

World War II

He received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars in World War II and later served on Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff in postwar Japan.[2]


Sprague was born in San Francisco and began his career as a reporter with The Record of Stockton, California, before entering Democratic Party politics. He came to Washington in 1957 as an aide to Representative John J. McFall of California.[2]

Before joining the FDIC, Sprague served as President Johnson's chief liaison to Capitol Hill, as a Congressional aide and as the lobbyist for the State of California.[2]

In 1969, Sprague was nominated by Lyndon B. Johnson to serve on the board of the FDIC. He left the post in 1972 and worked for Thomas P. O'Neill, the Massachusetts Democrat who was then speaker of the House. Jimmy Carter nominated him to return to the FDIC in 1979. He was chairman from 1979 to 1981 and remained on the board through 1985.[2]