Skip to main content
Menu Icon Menu Icon
Close

InfoBytes Blog

Financial Services Law Insights and Observations
Section Content

Upcoming Events

Filter

Subscribe to our InfoBytes Blog weekly newsletter for news affecting the financial services industry.

  • OCC Acting Comptroller Reiterates Request for CFPB Arbitration Rule Data

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 17, OCC Acting Comptroller Keith Noreika delivered a letter to the CFPB reiterating his request to review the supporting data used to develop the Bureau’s final arbitration rule prohibiting the use of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses in certain contracts for consumer financial products and services. While the CFPB issued assurances that the final rule would not impact the safety or soundness of the financial banking system, Noreika argued that because the Bureau is not a “safety and soundness prudential regulator,” the OCC, as the prudential regulator for the federal banking system, should be allowed to review the underlying data to address potential concerns under Section 1023 in Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act. In response, CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated his team is in the process of gathering the requested data but questioned the “plausible basis” for Noreika’s claim that the final arbitration rule could pose a safety and soundness issue.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Arbitration CFPB OCC Prudential Regulators Dodd-Frank

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC Acting Comptroller Supports Fintech National Bank Charter

    FinTech

    On July 19, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Keith A. Noreika, spoke before the Exchequer Club about the proposed concept of granting special purpose charters for financial technology (fintech) companies. In prepared remarks, Acting Comptroller Noreika said the OCC has the authority to grant national bank charters to nondepository fintech companies in “appropriate circumstances.” However, he reiterated that having the authority does not imply a determination has been made as to whether the OCC will accept or grant applications from nondepository fintech companies that rely solely on regulation 12 CFR 5.20(e)(1), which outlines eligibility requirements for receiving special purpose national bank charters. To date, no such applications have been received.

    The OCC continues to demonstrate its support for innovative developments and partnerships between banking and technology companies. As previously discussed in a Special Alert, the OCC issued a draft supplement in March to provide guidance for evaluating charter applications from fintech companies. “Providing a path for these companies to become national banks is pro-growth and in some ways can reduce regulatory burden for those companies,” Noreika remarked. However, the fintech special purpose national bank charter has recently met legal challenges from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (see Special Alerts here and here). Norieka stated that the OCC is developing its response to the NYDFS lawsuit “and plans to defend [its] authority vigorously.” He cautioned against defining banking too narrowly, and argued that fintech companies should be allowed to apply for national bank charters if they meet the criteria and are involved in the “business of banking.”

    Fintech OCC Licensing Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    Share page with AddThis
  • Federal Banking Agencies Issue Proposed Rulemaking to Amend Appraisal Requirement Threshold for Commercial Real Estate Transactions

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 19, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to raise the threshold for commercial real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from $250,000 to $400,000 in an effort to reduce costs and streamline transactions. The proposal was issued, in part, in response to concerns raised by financial industry representatives during the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act review process that adjustments have not been made to the current thresholds despite increases in property values and a scarcity of appraisers in rural areas. FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg issued a statement announcing that the proposal will significantly reduce the number of transactions requiring an appraisal. Evaluations, rather than appraisals, would now be required for commercial real estate transactions at or below the proposed threshold.

    Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days from date of publication in the Federal Register.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve FDIC OCC Commercial Lending Appraisal

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC Releases Spring 2017 Semiannual Risk Report

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 7, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced the release of its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2017 indicating key risk areas for national banks and federal savings associations. Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika pointed out in his remarks that, “[w]hile these are risks that the system faces as a whole, we note that the risks differ from bank to bank based on size, region, and business model. Compliance, governance, and operational risk issues remain leading risk issues for large banks while strategic, credit, and compliance risks remain the leading issues for midsize and community banks.”

    The report details the four top risk areas:

    • Elevated strategic risk—banks are expanding into new products and services as a result of fintech competition. According to the report, this competition is increasing potential risks. The OCC hopes to finish developing a special purpose banking charter for fintech companies soon.
    • Increased compliance risk—banks must comply with anti-money laundering rules and the Bank Secrecy Act in addition to addressing increased cybersecurity challenges and new consumer protection laws.
    • Upswing in credit risk—underwriting standards for commercial and retail loans have been relaxed as banks exhibit greater enthusiasm for risk and attempt to maintain loan market share as competition increases.
    • Rise in operational risk—banks face increasingly complex cyber threats while relying on third-party service providers, which may be targets for hackers.

    The report used data for the 12 months ending December 31, 2016.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Risk Management Consumer Finance Payments Consumer Lending Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Anti-Money Laundering Military Lending Act Compliance Bank Regulatory

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC Issues Branch Closings Booklet, General Policies and Procedures Booklet

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 29, the OCC issued Bulletin OCC 2017-24, announcing its revised Comptroller’s Licensing Manual booklet, “Branch Closings,” replacing the booklet issued in April 2003. According to the Bulletin, the revised booklet describes the 90-day advance notice to the OCC and branch customers that a bank must observe before closing a branch. It also explains the specific timing, procedures, and forms of notice the bank must supply. The booklet, which applies to all national banks and federal savings associations, summarizes the different notice requirements for each under Section 42 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. It also lists steps for filing branch closing notices including: (i) sending advance notice to the OCC at least 90 days before closing; (ii) mailing notices to customers at least 90 days in advance; (iii) posting conspicuous notices at the branch at least 30 days in advance; and (iv) sending final closing notice to the OCC after the branch closes.

    The notice requirement of Section 42 assists the OCC in assessing a bank’s record of opening and closing branches. The OCC reviews this record in examinations for compliance with Section 42 and in assessing performance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The OCC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) adopted a “Joint Policy Statement on Branch Closing Notices and Policies” (Joint Policy Statement) in June 1991 to provide guidance regarding the requirements of the branch closing statute.

    On July 5, the OCC issued an additional bulletin, OCC Bulletin 2017-25, revising the “General Policies and Procedures” booklet of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual issued in March 2008. This booklet explains how to file applications or notices with the OCC, requirements of the filings, and the OCC processes for licensing filings. The revised booklet applies to national banks, federal savings associations, and other entities that are involved in certain transactions including: (i) organizing a new bank; (ii) opening or closing a branch; (iii) establishing subsidiaries; (iv) some changes to capital or debt; and (v) certain other transactions. The booklet describes important policies and includes sample forms, filing requirements, and fees. It also covers the OCC’s review, approval or denial, and subsequent consummation requirements and appeal procedures.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Banking Licensing

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC Issues New Comptroller’s Licensing Manual Booklet to Provide Guidance on Articles of Association Amendments, Charters, and Bylaws

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 19, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released Bulletin OCC 2017-23 announcing a new booklet designed to provide consolidated guidance on several policies and procedures impacting national banks and federal savings associations when forming the framework of articles of association or charter documents. The “Articles of Association, Charter, and Bylaw Amendments” booklet, which is a part of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual, covers:

    • regulatory requirements for articles of association, charters, and bylaws;
    • an overview of the process required to notify the OCC or obtain OCC approval of an amendment;
    • requirements for the content of the articles of association, charters, and bylaws;
    • actions a national bank or federal savings association should take during the amendment process; and
    • references and links to informational resources and sample documents that national banks or federal savings associations may use during the amendment process.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Enforcement

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC Announces May 2017 Enforcement Actions

    Federal Issues

    On June 16, the OCC released a list of new enforcement actions taken against national banks, federal savings associations, and former institution-affiliated parties as well as a list of existing enforcement actions that were terminated in May. The actions include cease and desist, civil money penalties (CMP), and removal/prohibition orders. Among the actions, a senior loan originator of an Illinois bank was ordered to cease and desist and pay a CMP of $8,000 due to breaches of fiduciary duty and unsafe or unsound practices involving the transfer via unencrypted email of confidential consumer financial information.

    Federal Issues OCC Enforcement

    Share page with AddThis
  • Senate Banking Committee Seeks Perspectives of Midsized, Regional, and Large Institutions, Regulators on Economic Growth

    Federal Issues

    On June 15, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Committee) held a hearing entitled, “Fostering Economic Growth: Midsized, Regional and Large Institution Perspective”. This is the third in a series of hearings to address economic growth. Frequent topics of discussion in the hearing included stress testing and capital planning—specifically the Federal Reserve’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review stress test. Also discussed was the Systemically Important Financial Institution designation and costs incurred as a result, as well as the Volker Rule.

    Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the Committee, remarked in his opening statement that the current regulatory framework is “insufficiently tailored for many of the firms subject to it.”

    Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) – ranking member of the Committee—released an opening statement in which he stated “Let me be clear: proposals to weaken oversight of the biggest banks have no place in this committee’s process. . . Having said that, I am optimistic that there is room for agreement on a modified regime for overseeing regional banks.”

    The June 15 hearing—a video of which can be accessed here—included testimony from the following witnesses:

    • Mr. Harris Simmons, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Zions Bancorporation, on behalf of the Regional Bank Coalition (prepared statement)
    • Mr. Greg Baer, President of The Clearing House Association (prepared statement)
    • Mr. Robert HillChief Executive Officer of South State Corporation, on behalf of the Midsize Bank Coalition of America (prepared statement)
    • Ms. Saule Omarova, Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School (prepared statement)

    On June 22, the Senate Banking Committee held another hearing entitled “Fostering Economic Growth: Regulator Perspective, the fourth in its series of hearings focusing on economic growth. The hearing is available via webcast here.

    Federal Issues Senate Banking Committee Systemic Risk Bank Regulatory Bank Supervision FDIC OCC NCUA Federal Reserve Volker Rule CCAR

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC to Host Operational Risk Workshop, Will Hold Innovation "Office Hours"

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On July 25, the OCC will host an operational risk workshop in Charleston, WV for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC. The workshop will focus on the key components of operational risk, governance, third-party risk, vendor management, and cybersecurity.

    Additionally, on July 24 through the 26, the OCC’s Office of Innovation will hold “Office Hours” in New York City for national banks, federal savings associations, and fintech companies to provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss matters related to financial technology, new products and services, bank or fintech partnerships, as well as other items related to financial innovation. Meeting requests are due by July 5 and may be submitted here.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Risk Management Vendor Management Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

    Share page with AddThis
  • OCC, Fed Supervisory Guidance on Model Risk Management Followed by FDIC

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On June 7, the FDIC issued Financial Institution Letter FIL-22-2017 announcing that, in order to provide consistency across institutions and agencies, it is adopting the 2011 model risk management supervisory guidance that was issued by the Federal Reserve (SR 11-7 ) and the OCC (OCC Bulletin 2011-12) thereby making the guidance applicable to certain FDIC-supervised institutions, namely those with $1 billion or more in total assets. The FDIC guidance defines the term “model” as “a quantitative method, system, or approach that applies statistical, economic, financial, or mathematical theories, techniques, and assumptions to process input data into quantitative estimates.” The FDIC indicated that banks’ heavy reliance on models in financial decision-making can come with costs, especially when the decisions are “based on models that are incorrect or misused.”

    According to the FIL, the guidance contains “technical conforming changes” that make it relevant to institutions that are regulated by the FDIC, such as a “revised definition of 'banks' to reflect the FDIC's supervisory authority.”

    Among other things, the FIL highlights that an effective model risk management framework should include the following:

    • “disciplined and knowledgeable development that is well documented and conceptually sound”;
    • “controls to ensure proper implementation”;
    • “processes to ensure correct and appropriate use”;
    • “effective validation processes”; and
    • “strong governance, policies, and controls.”

    For institutions with assets totaling less than $1 billion, the guidance will only apply in certain circumstances, such as when “the institution's model use is significant, complex, or poses elevated risk to the institution.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FDIC Risk Management OCC Federal Reserve Bank Supervision

    Share page with AddThis

Pages