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News Release 2011-62 | May 25, 2011

OCC Proposes Rule to Implement Provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act

WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today issued a proposed rule implementing several provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, including the transfer of functions from the Office of Thrift Supervision and changes to national bank preemption and the OCC's visitorial authority.

Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the OCC will assume responsibility for the ongoing examination, supervision, and regulation of Federal savings associations on July 21.

This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is the first step in the OCC's review of its own regulations and those of the OTS to determine what changes are needed to facilitate a smooth regulatory transition. Specifically, the proposed rule would revise OCC rules that are central to internal agency functions and operations immediately upon the transfer of supervisory jurisdiction for Federal savings associations, including rules related to OCC organization, the availability and release of information, and post-employment restrictions for senior examiners.

In addition, the proposed rule would amend the OCC's assessment fee rule to include Federal savings associations. Following a transition period, the proposal provides a single assessment schedule for both national banks and Federal savings associations. Banks and thrifts would be subject to identical assessment methodologies, rates, fees, and payment due dates.

To synchronize payment due dates, the thrift assessments normally due on July 31, 2011, would be deferred to September 30 (using June 30 data). While some Federal savings associations would pay more under the OCC assessment rule, others would pay less. In fact, the thrift industry as a whole would have paid $18 million less in 2010 under the proposal.

To facilitate the transition of Federal thrift supervision from the OTS to the OCC, the OCC will compute assessment fees under both the OCC and OTS schedules for assessments charged in September 2011 and March 2012, and Federal savings associations will pay the lesser of the two fees. Beginning with assessments charged in September 2012, the OCC will assess institution fees based on a single fee schedule regardless of charter.

Also included in this proposal are changes to the OCC's regulations necessary to implement certain revisions to the banking laws that took effect on the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. These changes include implementation of a moratorium on changes in control of credit card banks and trust banks, revisions to Federal branch and agency rules to reflect the permanent increase in deposit insurance coverage, and amendments to OCC rules pertaining to preemption and visitorial powers. These preemption-related amendments:

  • Eliminate preemption for national bank operating subsidiaries;
  • Apply national bank and national bank subsidiary preemption standards, as well as the visitorial powers standards applicable to national banks, to Federal thrifts and their subsidiaries;
  • Eliminate any ambiguity concerning the preemption standards in OCC regulations by removing language from OCC rules that provides that state laws that "obstruct, impair or condition" a national bank's powers are preempted; and
  • Revise the OCC's visitorial powers rule to conform to the holding of the Supreme Court's Cuomo decision, as incorporated by the Act, recognizing the ability of state attorneys general to bring enforcement actions in court to enforce non-preempted state laws against national banks.

As part of the integration of the OTS functions into the OCC, the OCC also plans to issue an Interim Final Rule with a request for comments, effective on the transfer date, that republishes those OTS regulations the OCC has the authority to promulgate and enforce as of the transfer date, renumbered and issued as new OCC rules, with nomenclature and other technical amendments to reflect OCC supervision of Federal thrifts. The OCC will consider more comprehensive substantive amendments to these regulations, as appropriate, after the transfer date.

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on May 26, 2011. Comments are due by June 27, 2011.

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Robert M. Garsson
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