Magazine article American Banker

New OCC Literature on Internet Banking Stresses Risk Awareness

Magazine article American Banker

New OCC Literature on Internet Banking Stresses Risk Awareness

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -

National bank examiners are getting new instructions on Internet supervision, according to a release due out today from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The agency's main message is boiled down to a simple statement in the examiner guidelines:

"The challenge for national banks is to make sure the savings from Internet banking technology more than offset the costs and risks associated with doing business in cyberspace."

The 95-page booklet's subtext is a warning that banks planning to be active on-line make sure they know how to identify and avoid potential problems. The risks they may encounter, it explains, differ in both type and scope from those common to brick-and-mortar branch banking.

"We're releasing this now so that our bankers are thinking about it and taking the proper steps and don't get blindsided. That's the purpose of supervision," said Clifford A. Wilke, the agency's director for bank technology.

Mr. Wilke said that about 4% of Americans used on-line banking services last year. The figure has risen to 6% this year and is projected to be 20% to 25% by 2002.

Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass., predicts similar growth.

It says the number of U.S. households that bank on-line, currently four million to five million, will surge to 18.5 million by 2003.

The Comptroller's office says 530 national banks currently offer customers the ability to conduct transactions on-line. …

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