Magazine article American Banker

OTS Fires First Shots in Its War on Red Tape

Magazine article American Banker

OTS Fires First Shots in Its War on Red Tape

Article excerpt

To kick off a major overhaul of the rules governing federally chartered savings institutions, the Office of Thrift Supervision has eliminated 8% of its regulations.

Effective today, gone is the requirement that every savings association publish an annual statement of condition in a newspaper. Also off the books are elaborate rules covering requests for savings account withdrawals and limits on selling merchandise to attract savings deposits.

In all, the thrift regulator is cutting from the Code of Federal Regulations 154 sections it considers outdated or redundant. Their demise was proposed in August and stirred no controversy.

But the thrift regulator will soon be delving into more sensitive issues. Slated for the coming months are revisions to rules in such areas as lending, subsidiaries, corporate governance, insurance sales, and adjustable rate mortgages.

"It will be substantive," promised G. Jeffrey Miner, OTS deputy general counsel. "We're not just looking to strip out outdated regulations. We're looking for new and less burdensome ways to achieve safety and soundness objectives."

The OTS rewrite comes in response to the Clinton administration's general regulatory review and to the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994, which called for a reduction in regulatory burdens.

The other banking agencies are in the midst of similar efforts. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has even used its rules review to push for new national bank powers. …

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