Class of 2000
Bimal Patel arrived on The Walker School campus in 1996. Through close friends of his family, the Patels became aware of Walker’s academic excellence, intimate environment, and faculty/student relationships. They chose the school for Bimal because they knew his potential would be developed at Walker.
Bimal remembers his freshman year well, because “we had a really good basketball team that year. Really good.” Although he didn’t play, he managed the team for all four years of his high school career. Being part of a team, Bimal shares, “it’s probably the thing, aside from the school part, that defined my Walker experience.” In addition, Bimal was involved in student government and jokes that his most significant responsibility through SGA was making sure he picked up and brought the Chic-fil-A biscuits to school. Yet, on a more serious note, he adds that many of his fellow students remain close friends, even twenty years after graduation.
“I’ve always been civically minded,” Bimal shares. “I always found government interesting. It’s not terribly surprising that I’ve gone into the field I have.” Naturally, he was drawn to economics, government and history courses at Walker and ended up majoring in political science and economics at Stanford University following graduation. He credits Walker’s science and history department faculty members as exceptional and modeled much of his approach to teaching, many years later as an adjunct professor at Stanford, after those teachers. Walker teachers exuded a transparent “passion for the subject matter that was off the charts” that Bimal found most inspiring.
After securing his undergrad at Stanford, Bimal went on to Georgetown University Law Center to earn his J.D. and then to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for his Masters in Public Policy. Bimal became a partner and head of the Financial Advisory and Regulation Practice at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers, served as Senior Advisor to Jeremiah Norton at the FDIC, and taught banking regulation at Stanford University. Then, following the election of Donald Trump, Bimal was invited to join the Treasury Department where he served as a member of the leadership team responsible for U.S. financial institutions and financial stability.
On September 13, 2018, President Donald J. Trump nominated Bimal to be the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions. Bimal (a self-processed “banking nerd”) was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and sworn into the position in June of 2019, at the age of 36. As Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, he oversaw the Office of Financial Institutions Policy, the Federal Insurance Office, the Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection, and the Office of Economic and Community Development. Upon his confirmation, Bimal, the son of immigrants, was the most senior Indian-American ever to serve at Treasury.1
“It was the right job for me and I was very fortunate to have been nominated and confirmed; what I didn’t anticipate,” Bimal adds, “was that I would wind up in this role … during a global pandemic.” Bimal co-led the Treasury Department's work to implement the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $659 billion small business forgivable loan program - in six days. “It was an unbelievable undertaking. And probably like nothing I will ever experience again. The truth is that it’s an honor to serve the country, at all. It’s an honor to have been part of the post-COVID response… working specifically and directly for the American people, and, it’s an honor to have carried on with the tradition that has been set by the people who came before me in this job. When I look at the list of people who have held this position, well, I want to do well for them.”
“Everything in life is what you make of it,” Bimal adds. “And, I guess, if you happen to like your AP Government class at Walker, this is how it could work out! I’m very happy to be a force for good and very grateful for the opportunities that Walker gave me and what’s come since.”