The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released its finalized rule to ensure fair access to banking services provided by large national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign bank organizations, according to a release.
The rule applies to the largest banks with more than $100 billion in assets that may exert significant pricing power or influence over sectors of the national economy.
The rule codifies more than a decade of OCC guidance stating that banks should conduct risk assessment of individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers, when provisioning access to services, capital and credit.
“When a large bank decides to cut off access to charities or even embassies serving dangerous parts of the world or companies conducting legal businesses in the United States that support local jobs and the national economy, they need to show their work and the legitimate business reasons for doing so,” Brian P. Brooks, Acting Comptroller of the Currency” said in the release. “As Comptrollers and staff in previous administrations have made clear in speeches, guidance, and testimony, banks should not terminate services to entire categories of customers without conducting individual risk assessments. It is inconsistent with basic principles of prudent risk management to make decisions based solely on conclusory or categorical assertions of risk without actual analysis. Moreover, elected officials should determine what is legal and illegal in our country.”