Magazine article American Banker

OCC Readies Consumer Protection Squadron

Magazine article American Banker

OCC Readies Consumer Protection Squadron

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is creating a class of examiners to enforce consumer protection laws.

The new examiners, numbering 100 to 150, will allow for more frequent compliance exams at national banks, according to Stephen M. Cross, deputy comptroller for compliance.

Most affected will be banks with less than $1 billion in assets. Once training is completed - it is expected to take about three years - these institutions will be examined every two years instead of every six years.

Banks with more than $1 billion in assets already get compliance exams every two years.

Fees Won't Rise

A spokeswoman for the Comptrollees office said banks' assessment fees will not

Mr. cross speaking to a group of compliance officers in San Diego this week, also announced that it will be next year before the Comptroller's office deploys testers to root out lending bias at national banks.

Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig said on May 5 that he intends to send pairs of whites and minorities with similar financial characteristics into national banks to test for discrimination. But Mr. Cross said the program is proving difficult to develop.

Contracting Out for Testers

He offered few details, but said the testing will not be done by bank examiners. To groans from the audience, Mr. Cross said the Comptroller's office will contract out for testers, possibly with civil rights groups.

"We believe testing is a very serious business - not to be done on a part-time basis," Mr. Cross said.

The focus, at least initially, will be on pre-application bias, according to Mr. …

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