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OCC Bulletin 2012-15 | May 17, 2012

OTS Integration: Rescission of OTS Documents


Chief Executive Officers and Compliance Officers of All National Banks and Federal Savings Associations, Department and Division Heads, and All Examining Personnel


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is rescinding the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) documents listed in Attachment A as part of its ongoing implementation of title III of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.


OCC 2011-47, "OTS Integration: Supervisory Policy Integration Process"


As explained in OCC 2011-47, the OCC is committed to evaluating former OTS guidance, addressing common supervisory issues consistently, and accommodating regulatory and statutory differences appropriately. The OCC's goal is to produce a consistent supervisory approach and integrated policy platform for national banks and federal savings associations (FSA), while recognizing differences anchored in statute.

Attachment A lists the rescinded OTS documents and the OCC documents, if any, that replace the rescinded documents.1 OTS documents are rescinded for one of the following reasons:

  • Outdated: The document is no longer needed. Any attachments to the document are rescinded only as they relate to national banks and FSAs.
  • Duplicative: The document transmitted interagency guidance that was issued jointly with the OCC. The rescission applies to the transmitting document only and not to the attached interagency guidance. FSAs are directed to use the OCC-issued document to access the interagency guidance.
  • Conveyance: The document is a cover letter that merely conveyed another document. The rescission does not change the applicability of the conveyed document. To determine the applicability of the conveyed document, please refer to the original issuer of the document.
  • Replaced: The document and any attachments are superseded by similar OCC guidance that is immediately applicable to FSAs. However, FSAs have 90 days after the date of issuance of this bulletin to ensure compliance with this OCC guidance.

Many of the documents rescinded by this bulletin focus on the supervision and examination of FSAs.2 While the specific OCC documents now applicable to FSAs in place of the rescinded items are identified in the attached table, several key Comptroller's Handbook booklets warrant close review. These booklets—"Bank Supervision Process," "Community Bank Supervision," and "Large Bank Supervision,"—explain the foundation of the OCC's supervisory philosophy and contain minimum examination procedures that apply to FSAs. As the OCC continues its progress toward one integrated policy platform for national banks and FSAs, it is increasingly important for FSAs to have a thorough understanding of the supervisory philosophy contained in these booklets and how the OCC organizes this guidance.

The "Bank Supervision Process" booklet explains the OCC's overall supervisory philosophy and methods. The booklet integrates general supervisory policy for safety and soundness and specialty areas and includes a consolidated reference for all uniform interagency rating systems in the appendix. It also outlines bank supervision responsibilities and addresses how the OCC coordinates its supervision with other banking and functional regulators. Additionally, this booklet explains how the OCC's quality management programs, Customer Assistance Group, and appeals process support bank supervision.

As explained in the thrift executive outreach meetings held by the OCC during the transition, the OCC employs a risk-based supervisory philosophy focused on evaluating risk, identifying material and emerging problems, and directing individual banks to take corrective action before problems compromise their safety and soundness. This philosophy is embodied in the OCC's supervision-by-risk program. The OCC carries out risk-based supervision for safety and soundness purposes, including in specialty areas such as consumer compliance, asset management, and information technology.

The OCC has implemented a risk-based supervisory framework consisting of the following three components:

  • Core Knowledge: Information about the institution, its profile, culture, risk tolerance, operations and environment, and key examination indicators and findings. This information enables examiners to document and communicate critical data with greater consistency and efficiency.
  • Core Assessment: Objectives and procedures that guide examiners in reaching conclusions on both risk assessments and regulatory ratings. Examiners must reach these conclusions during the course of each supervisory cycle to meet the requirements of a full-scope, on-site examination. Specific core assessment guidance is contained in the "Community Bank Supervision" and "Large Bank Supervision" booklets and in the core procedures of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's (FFIEC) Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual.
  • Expanded Procedures: Detailed guidance that explains how to examine specialized activities or specific products that warrant attention beyond the core assessment. These procedures are found in other booklets of the Comptroller's Handbook, the FFIEC Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual, and the FFIEC IT Examination Handbook. Examiners determine which expanded procedures to use, if any, during examination planning or after drawing preliminary conclusions during the core assessment.

Throughout the OCC's policy review and integration process, it has been clear that there are significant similarities and overlap in the guidance that the OCC and the former OTS issued. The two agencies shared objectives that institutions

  • soundly manage their risks,
  • maintain their ability to compete effectively with other providers of financial services,
  • meet the needs of their communities for credit and financial services,
  • comply with laws and regulations, and
  • provide fair access to financial services and fair treatment of their customers.

In addition, both agencies based their examination objectives on the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System, which the bank regulatory agencies developed under the auspices of the FFIEC. Because of these similarities, the OCC is using the framework outlined above in its examination of FSAs. OCC examiners will rely primarily on OCC-issued examination procedures. Although the OTS published numerous examination procedures addressing specific subject areas, the OCC is not, at this time, rescinding those OTS-issued examination procedures (except as specifically identified in this bulletin or in previous bulletins that have rescinded OTS-issued guidance3). OTS-issued examination procedures will be rescinded as part of our future review of the related subject matter handbook section.

Even before the policy integration is completed, FSAs and national banks may find guidance issued to the other charter type useful for informational purposes. For example, an FSA may find more detailed OCC guidance on a particular topic, such as commercial lending, or a national bank may find more current guidance issued by the OTS on a particular topic, such as mortgage banking. In the course of ongoing supervision the OCC may direct national banks and FSAs to consult such guidance for further information on the subject area or to address supervisory concerns. The OCC will not cite noncompliance with the requirements included in such guidance, however, until application of these requirements has been officially communicated and related OTS-issued guidance, if any, has been rescinded.

As the OCC continues the policy integration process, it will provide periodic updates by issuing additional OCC bulletins. If you have questions about this process, contact Operational Risk Policy, at (202) 649-6550. For questions about the application of current policy guidance, please contact your supervisory office.

John C. Lyons Jr.
Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief National Bank Examiner

 1Attachment B lists additional OCC guidance applicable to FSAs that relates to previously rescinded OTS guidance.

 2Separately, supervisory guidance that the OTS issued for internal use (for example, "New Directions Bulletins" issued to examination staff) has been or will be rescinded.

 3See OCC 2012-2, "OTS Integration: Rescission of OTS Documents," January 6, 2012; OCC 2012-3, "OTS Integration: Rescission of OTS Transmittal Letters," January 6, 2012; and OCC 2012-5, "Interest Rate Risk Management: FAQs on 2010 Interagency Advisory on Interest Rate Risk Management," January 12, 2012.

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