Regulators Get Earful from Foreign Bankers about Excess Red Tape
Fox, Justin, American Banker
American bankers think they've got it tough, coping with this country's tangle of banking laws and regulations.
But foreign bankers doing business here are convinced that they've got it much tougher.
"It's extremely difficult for a foreigner to come to terms with the (regulatory) requirements," said Matthew King, legal adviser for the Americas for London-based Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp., who called the U.S. regulatory structure a "quagmire."
John Tugwell, president, CEO, and chairman of National Westminster Bancorp, the U.S. subsidiary of London's National Westminster Bank PLC, said "overreaction by regulators and legislators" to scandals involving the Bank of Credit and Commerce International and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro has burdened foreign banks here with unfair levels of scrutiny and regulation.
Mr. King and Mr. Tugwell had the opportunity to unburden themselves of these complaints at a conference here last week organized by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
The Comptroller's office was a curious host in that it's not a key regulator of foreign banks. It trails the state banking departments of New York and California in the number of foreign bank licenses it has awarded, while on the national level it's the Federal Reserve that oversees foreign banks.
Still, said Jon K. Hartzell, deputy comptroller for international banking and finance, "We're very definitely in the game and staying in the game. …