Magazine article American Banker

'Heightened Expectations' Don't Apply to Small Banks: OCC's Curry

Magazine article American Banker

'Heightened Expectations' Don't Apply to Small Banks: OCC's Curry

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Witkowski

WASHINGTON -- Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry sought to reassure community bankers this week that the agency does not expect them to comply with its "heightened expectations" proposal aimed at bolstering risk management and improving governance at the biggest banks.

The pending guidelines are meant to capture financial institutions of at least $50 billion in assets, but smaller banks became concerned when the OCC included a provision that they might also apply to banks below that threshold if their operations are deemed "highly complex."

But in a speech before the American Bankers Association's risk management forum, Curry said they would only apply the standards to smaller institutions in extraordinary circumstances.

"Some community bankers may be reading that language as a loophole that we will use to impose onerous new requirements on community banks. I want to assure you that this is not the case and not our intent," said Curry on Thursday. "I can promise that we will consider all the feedback we have received on this and other aspects of our proposal and make any necessary adjustments before the document goes final."

The guidelines are still open for comment until March 28 and Curry said the agency will carefully weigh responses.

The guidelines essentially require banks to establish three lines of defense that would monitor risk management and corporate governance: front-line units, independent risk management and internal audit. …

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