OCC, FDIC, and Fed Release Stress Test Scenarios for 2017

On February 3, the Fed announced the release of the “Supervisory Scenarios” to be used by banks and supervisors for the 2017 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) and Dodd-Frank Act stress test exercises and also issued instructions to firms participating in CCAR. The Fed also published three letters that provide additional information on its stress-testing program. The three letters describe: (i) the Horizontal Capital Review for large, noncomplex companies; (ii) the CCAR qualitative assessment for U.S. intermediate holding companies of foreign banks, which are submitting capital plans for the first time; and (iii) improvements to how the Fed will estimate post-stress capital ratios.

On February 3, the OCC similarly released economic and financial market scenarios for 2017 that are to be used by national banks and federal savings associations (with total consolidated assets of more than $10 billion) in their annual Dodd-Frank Act-mandated stress test. On February 6, the FDIC released its stress test scenarios, working in consultation with the Fed and OCC.

The three sets of supervisory scenarios provide each agency with forward-looking information for use in bank supervision and will assist the agencies in assessing the covered institutions’ risk profile and capital adequacy.

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Special Alert: OCC Takes the Next Step Toward a Fintech National Bank Charter

On December 2, 2016, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) announced its plans to move forward with developing a special purpose national bank charter for financial technology (“fintech”) companies. Accompanying the Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas J. Curry’s announcement, the OCC published a white paper that describes the OCC’s authority to grant national bank charters to fintech companies and outlines minimum supervisory standards for successful fintech bank applicants.[1] These standards would include capital and liquidity standards, risk management requirements, enhanced disclosure requirements, and resolution plans. Over the past several months, the OCC has taken a series of carefully calculated steps to position itself as the preeminent regulator of fintech companies in a hotly-contested race among other federal and state regulators who have similarly expressed interest in formalizing a regulatory framework for fintech companies. This proposal from the OCC reflects the culmination of those efforts.

Click here to read the full special alert

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BuckleySandler welcomes questions regarding this new approach to fintech and banking, and would be happy to assist companies in determining whether a national bank charter would be beneficial for executing on their corporate strategies. Questions regarding the matters discussed in this Alert may be directed to any of our lawyers listed below, or to any other BuckleySandler attorney with whom you have consulted in the past.

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OCC Issues Q1 2017 CRA Evaluation Schedule

On December 2, the OCC posted its schedule of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) evaluations to be conducted in the first quarter of 2017. In a press release accompanying the 2017 schedule, the OCC encouraged public comment on the national banks and federal savings associations scheduled to be evaluated, and suggested that “comments be submitted to the institutions themselves at the mailing addresses listed on the schedule, or to the appropriate OCC supervisory office prior to—or as early as possible during—the month in which the evaluation is scheduled.” The OCC will consider all public comments received prior to the close of the CRA evaluation.

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Comptroller Curry Discusses Importance of Effective Supervision Before Clearing House Annual Conference

In prepared remarks delivered on November 30 before The Clearing House Annual Conference in New York City, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry discussed lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. Curry noted that he was “often disappointed how quickly some forget the lessons of more recent events, particularly what brought the financial system to the cliff in 2008 and what has put our banks and our economy on much firmer ground since.” His remarks emphasized the value of strong capital, the need for ample liquidity, and the importance of effective supervision.

In discussing capital, Curry noted that since the beginning of 2009, there has been a $700 billion increase in common equity capital. Such levels would allow the 33 largest bank holding companies to be well capitalized and continue lending even under the most severe scenario used by the banking agencies’ stress tests. He cautioned, however, that “[w]eakening the ratio through special exclusions only undermines our original intent and weakens the protection against excessive leverage.” Comptroller Curry similarly noted that the Liquidity Coverage Ratio and the proposed Net Stable Funding Ratio complement each other to push covered banks to hold ready resources to meet short-term cash outflows and to shift to more stable, longer-term funding.

On the subject of supervision, Curry noted the importance of “holistic supervision based on the CAMELS rating system.” He also added that while a periodic reassessment of banking laws and regulations is appropriate, “we must never settle for ‘light-touch’ supervision.” And, in concluding, Curry stressed that community banks and their examiners, in order to “remain strong and healthy,” need to “focus on strategic risk, rising credit risk from stretching for yield while relaxing underwriting standards, expansion of new technologies, and compliance issues.”

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OCC Promotes Morris Morgan to Oversee Large Bank Supervision

In a press release, issued on November 1, the OCC announced that Morris Morgan, a senior OCC official, will take on a new role as Senior Deputy Comptroller for Large Bank Supervision on December 24.  Morgan, a 31-year veteran of the OCC, has served as Examiner-in-Charge of a major bank, and PNC and Deputy Comptroller for Large Bank Supervision. In his new role, Morgan will serve as a member of the OCC’s Executive Committee and the Committee on Bank Supervision. He also will oversee operations of the OCC’s International Banking Supervision group and its London Office.

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