The Fed, FDIC, and OCC, as members of the FFIEC, recently announced that the implementation of a streamlined Call Report Form (FFIEC 051) for eligible small institutions—financial institutions with only domestic offices and less than $1 billion in total assets—which is proposed to take effect March 31, 2017. The FFIEC’s action is the result of an ongoing initiative to reduce the burden associated with Call Report requirements for community banks. Among other things, the streamlined Call Report reduces the existing Call Report from 85 to 61 pages, resulting from the removal of approximately 950 (or about 40 percent) of the nearly 2,400 data items in the Call Report. Because the OMB must approve the revisions before they can be implemented, the above-referenced banking agencies have also issued a joint notice reflecting that they have submitted the information collection to OMB for review.
On January 11, the OCC reported that it has ordered a large London-based bank to pay $32.5 million to settle claims that the bank failed to properly follow the regulator’s orders to improve mortgage foreclosure practices that led to borrowers being harmed after the 2008 credit crisis. Specifically, the OCC had accused the bank in 2015 of failing to meet the demands it had agreed to, and the agency imposed certain additional restrictions on the company’s mortgage-servicing abilities until it fixed the alleged shortcomings. The regulator also noted that the bank had failed to properly file documents in certain bankruptcy cases after the orders (for which it was ordered to pay $3.5 million in remediation to borrowers). The OCC confirmed, however, that the bank is now in compliance with all OCC orders related to the alleged foreclosure practices.
Last week, on December 28, 2016, the OCC announced the release of its final rule to prohibit national banks and federal savings associations from dealing or investing in industrial or commercial metals. Under the new restrictions, banks will no longer be permitted to deal or invest in metals and alloys in forms primarily suited for industrial or commercial purposes, such as copper cathodes, aluminum T-bars and gold jewelry. The final rule is effective as of April 1, 2017, and includes a divestiture period, which provides for institutions that previously acquired industrial or commercial metal through dealing or investing to unwind their investments as soon as practicable, but not later than April 1, 2018. The OCC may also—on a case-by-case basis—grant up to four separate one-year extensions of the divestiture period if the bank has made a good faith effort to dispose of its existing investments and the bank’s retention of the metal is not inconsistent with safe and sound operation.
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. 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.
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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.
- Andrew L. Sandler, (202) 349-8001
- David Baris, (202) 349-8004
- Jeremiah S. Buckley, (202) 349-8010
- Valerie L. Hletko, (202) 349-8054
- John P. Kromer, (202) 349-8040
- Jeffrey P. Naimon, (202) 349-8030
- Clinton R. Rockwell, (310) 424-3901
- Heather Russell, (212) 600-2350
- Margo H.K. Tank, (202) 349-8050
- Jonice Gray Tucker, (202) 349-8005
- Walter E. Zalenski, (202) 461-2910
- Noel M. Gruber, (202) 349-8043
- Shara M. Chang, (202) 349-8096
On December 1, the OCC issued Bulletin 2016-43, which informs all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks of the fees and assessments the OCC will charge for calendar year 2017. The rates for all asset categories have been adjusted for inflation. The bulletin becomes effective January 1, 2017.