He became a prominent banker in New York City. He was elected President of the American Banker's Association until 1945 when he was succeeded by Frank C. Rathje. Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Burgess deputy to the United States Secretary of the Treasury in 1953 and Burgess settled in Washington. In 1954 he became Undersecretary of the Treasury. After his first wife, Dr. May Ayres Burgess, a statistician and mother of their two sons, Leonard and Julian, died in 1953, he married Helen Morgan Hamilton, granddaughter of banker J.P. Morgan and widow of Arthur Hale Woods in 1955. During the war, she served in the Women's Army Corp, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel.