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NR 2008-97
Contact: Pam Douglas
(202) 874-4700

OCC Interim Final Rule Encourages Public Welfare Investments by National Banks

WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today issued a banking bulletin on an interim final rule to implement the changes to national banks’ public welfare investment authority enacted in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), which the President signed into law on July 30, 2008. This provision in HERA restored national banks’ full authority to make investments designed primarily to promote the public welfare, including in low- and moderate-income communities, communities affected by foreclosures and targeted for revitalization, designated disaster areas, and underserved rural communities. The OCC recognized the need to implement this provision promptly.

"This has the potential to generate additional private investments that will go toward strengthening and stabilizing our communities, and we greatly appreciate the leadership in Congress for restoring this valuable authority," Comptroller Dugan said. "The public welfare investment provision of the legislation, as implemented by the OCC’s regulation, provides support for the goals of the housing bill, without the expenditure of any taxpayer funds, by helping to revitalize and stabilize communities affected by rising foreclosures."

Although there is a 30-day public comment period, the interim final rule became effective on August 11 when it was published in the Federal Register. The comment period closes on September 10, 2008.

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