The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
To ensure that national banks and federal savings associations operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.
The OCC is the preeminent prudential supervisor that
- adds value through proactive and risk-based supervision;
- is sought after as a source of knowledge and expertise; and
- promotes a vibrant and diverse banking system that benefits consumers, communities, businesses, and the U.S. economy.
The President, with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate, appoints the Comptroller to head the agency for a five-year term. The Comptroller also is a director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and NeighborWorks® America.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the OCC has four district offices plus an office in London to supervise the international activities of national banks. The OCC's nationwide staff of bank examiners conducts on-site reviews of national banks and federal savings associations and provides sustained supervision of these institutions’ operations. Examiners analyze loan and investment portfolios, funds management, capital, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to market risk for all national banks and federal thrifts, and compliance with consumer banking laws for national banks and thrifts with less than $10 billion in assets. They review internal controls, internal and external audit, and compliance with law. They also evaluate management's ability to identify and control risk.
In regulating national banks and federal thrifts, the OCC has the power to:
- Examine the national banks and federal thrifts.
- Approve or deny applications for new charters, branches, capital, or other changes in corporate or banking structure.
- Take supervisory actions against national banks and federal thrifts that do not comply with laws and regulations or that otherwise engage in unsound practices. Remove officers and directors, negotiate agreements to change banking practices, and issue cease and desist orders as well as civil money penalties.
- Issue rules and regulations, legal interpretations, and corporate decisions governing investments, lending, and other practices.
In 1861, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase recommended the establishment of a system of federally chartered national banks, each of which would have the power to issue standardized national banknotes based on United States bonds held by the bank. In the National Currency Act of 1863, the administration of the new national banking system was vested in the newly created OCC and its chief administrator, the Comptroller of the Currency.
The law was completely rewritten and reenacted as the National Bank Act. That act authorized the Comptroller of the Currency to hire a staff of national bank examiners to supervise and periodically examine national banks. The act also gave the Comptroller the authority to regulate lending and investment activities of national banks.
One of the reasons Congress created a banking system that issued national currency was to finance the Civil War. Although national banks no longer issue currency, they continue to play a prominent role in the nation's economic life.
On July 21, 2011, the responsibility for supervising federal savings associations transferred from the Office of Thrift Supervision to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Federal savings associations, or federal thrifts, have roots dating back to 1831, when townspeople in Frankford, Pennsylvania, agreed to pool their money to purchase their homes. The result was the Oxford Provident Building Association. Thrifts continue to serve the shelter and deposit needs of millions of Americans today.
The OCC does not receive appropriations from Congress. Instead, the OCC's operations are funded primarily by assessments on national banks and federal savings associations. National banks and federal savings associations pay for their examinations, and they pay for the OCC's processing of their corporate applications. The OCC also receives revenue from its investment income, primarily from U.S. Treasury securities.
Deposits Insured by the FDIC
The Federal deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, insures all types of deposits—CD's, checking, savings, money market, and NOW accounts—held in all FDIC-insured depository institutions, including national banks and federal savings associations. The permanent standard insurance amount is $250,000, per depositor, per insured depository institution for each account ownership category. For more information about deposit insurance, visit the FDIC's Web site. Bankers and consumers can also call the FDIC at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
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