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News Release 2013-97 | June 13, 2013

OCC Publishes "A Common Sense Approach to Community Banking"

WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced today that it is publishing on its Website a new booklet that shares the agency's perspective on the best practices that distinguish high-performing community banks.

The booklet, "A Common Sense Approach to Community Banking," was previously distributed to national banks and federally chartered thrifts. It is now available on the OCC's website,

"There are a lot of publications out there that describe both the difficulties and opportunities that confront community banks," said Bert Otto, Deputy Comptroller for the OCC's Central District. "What we thought was missing and very much needed was a publication that takes a practical, common sense approach to community banking."

Mr. Otto, who spearheaded the publication, said the Common Sense booklet is aimed at helping community banks and thrifts succeed.

"In developing this publication, we asked ourselves, ‘What distinguishes community banks that thrive from those that either just barely survive or eventually fail?' " said Mr. Otto, who is based in Chicago.

The booklet focuses on three interrelated areas:

  • Risk assessment and management, with particular emphasis on how the OCC's Risk Assessment System can be used by community banks;
  • Strategic planning; and
  • Capital planning.

Also highlighted is the key role the OCC portfolio manager plays in the supervision of national banks and federal thrifts.

"Every community national bank or federal thrift has a portfolio manager who serves as the institution's primary point of contact with the OCC," said Jennifer Kelly, Senior Deputy Comptroller for Midsize and Community Bank Supervision. "The portfolio manager not only ensures effective communication, but also serves as a resource who understands local markets and has ready access to OCC specialists who can provide assistance to community banks and thrifts."

"We at the OCC believe that the future for community banks in the United States is bright, and we hope smaller institutions will find our new publication helpful as they consider risk management and both strategic and capital planning," Ms. Kelly said.

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