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OCC BULLETIN 2019-15
To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks, Federal Savings Associations, and Federal Branches and Agencies; Department and Division Heads; All Examining Personnel; and Other Interested Parties

Description: Statement on Confidentiality

Summary

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reminds all national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, banks) that they are prohibited by regulation from disclosing nonpublic OCC information (see 12 CFR 4.32(b)), including their CAMELS rating, without prior approval of the OCC, except in very limited circumstances (see 12 CFR 4.36(d) and 4.37(b)). Any unauthorized disclosure or use of nonpublic OCC information without the express permission of the OCC may be subject to criminal penalties under federal law. This bulletin describes the requirements and the OCC's expectations related to the disclosure of nonpublic OCC information and includes a listing of alternative sources of publicly available bank information.

Note for Community Banks

This bulletin applies to all banks, including community banks.

Highlights

OCC reports of examination and other nonpublic OCC information are the property of the OCC. Except in very limited circumstances, a bank may not disclose this information without the prior written permission of the OCC (see 12 CFR 4.37(b)). This prohibition applies to any portion of a report of examination, supervisory correspondence, and any representations concerning the report or supervisory correspondence, or their findings, including the assigned CAMELS rating. Any unauthorized disclosure or use of nonpublic information may be subject to criminal penalties.

Background

OCC regulations provide that nonpublic OCC information is the property of the OCC (see 12 CFR 4.32(b)(2)). This information may not be disclosed without the prior written permission of the OCC, except in very limited circumstances (see 12 CFR 4.36(d) and 4.37(b)). The circumstances for release of nonpublic OCC information may include disclosure to a parent holding company, director, officer, attorney, auditor, or other specified third party, to the extent consistent with the OCC's regulations (see 12 CFR 4.37(b)(2)).

Nonpublic OCC information includes the following:

  • OCC reports of examination, including CAMELS ratings.
  • Supervisory correspondence.
  • Bank responses to supervisory correspondence.
  • Investigatory files.
  • Certain enforcement-related information, including matters requiring attention (MRA).
  • Confidential bank information.
  • Other OCC records created or obtained in connection with OCC supervision, licensing, regulation, or examination that are not required to be made available under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552, or that the OCC has not yet published or made publicly available (see 12 CFR 4.32(b)(1)).

Any person who discloses or uses nonpublic information except as expressly permitted by the OCC or as provided by the OCC's regulations may be subject to the criminal penalties provided in 18 USC 641. This legal prohibition on the release of nonpublic OCC information applies to all financial institutions supervised by the OCC.

A bank that receives a request for nonpublic supervisory information may choose to refer all requesters to the following publicly available information:

  • Quarterly reports of condition (call reports) (see 12 USC 1817).
  • For holding companies or foreign banks with U.S. operations, an institution's quarterly and annual FR Y or H-(b)11 reports (see 12 USC 602, 625, and 1844(c)).
  • The bank's Uniform Bank Performance Report (UBPR), which is available to all interested parties from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) at www.ffiec.gov and is designed for summary and in-depth analysis of banks.
  • A bank's publicly available filings, if any, filed with the OCC or with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Any reports or ratings on the bank compiled by private companies that track the performance of financial institutions.
  • Any reports or ratings issued by private rating services on public debt issued by a bank.
  • Any publicly available cease and desist order or enforcement proceeding against a bank (Information on OCC enforcement actions is found at: https://apps.occ.gov/EASearch/).
  • Information on enforcement actions taken by other federal agencies, such as the SEC, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as foreign authorities, may also be publicly available).
  • Any reports or other sources of information created by the bank on bank performance or internal matters that do not contain information prohibited from release by law or regulation.

Further Information

Questions about this bulletin may be directed to your OCC supervisory office.



Morris R. Morgan
Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief Operating Officer