By Bob Davis
The OCC hosted the Mutual Savings Associations Advisory Council on April 28, 2015, at OCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. Comptroller Tom Curry greeted the 10-member group—all of whom are ABA members—by again stating his steadfast support for the mutual charter and by praising the recently introduced mutual legislation for thrift charter flexibility championed by Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.).
He also expressed gratitude to OCC Deputy Comptroller of Thrift Supervision Donna Deale, who is retiring, and introduced her successor, OTS veteran Michael Brickman. After hearing from OCC senior staff regarding the latest economic trends for mutuals, Deale updated the group on the thrift flexibility proposal. Prior to the meeting, ABA wrote to the committee to express its support for H.R. 1660 and H.R. 1661.
Collaboration Effort. OCC analyst Charlotte Bahin led the group in a discussion of the collaboration effort being undertaken by OCC at the behest of the MSAAC to encourage more coordinated and cooperative work among banks and regulators to address a spectrum of issues. Some bankers mentioned different options for collaborative efforts and the importance of getting other regulators on board with one policy for all. Other bankers mentioned that state associations have formed collaborative programs as well. Bahin stated that the OCC has put out a paper analyzing this issue and that the OCC is also willing to come to individual banks to help set up programs. The group also discussed how they can meet with fellow bankers and start to discuss options for collaboration. Doors open when trust and relationships develop, but it requires commitment to a long-term process. Others discussed how many banks currently pool their resources to finance community development activities as an example of collaboration that can be applied to other areas where sharing knowledge, resources and effort can make a difference.
Roundtable Discussion. During the afternoon roundtable discussion, committee members raised other key concerns, including cybersecurity and ways to train customers, not just employees, about cyber threats and ways to avoid them. It was noted that such training can be a business development tool that benefits both banks and customers and can build customer loyalty. Other topics discussed included:
- How to deal with an aging work force
- Succession planning
- How to attract young people with experience and talents needed in banking
- Credit union competition
- Branding your bank and mutuality
The next MSAAC meeting will be held July 22, 2015, followed by an OCC Mutual Forum on July 23 at OCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. Topics on the agenda will include:
- Conversation with the Comptroller
- Economic Update
- Regulatory Compliance Panel
- Ensuring the long term viability of the mutual model