Otting: OCC Working on Interagency Consensus on CRA Reform Plans

The OCC is hoping to issue a long-awaited advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the Community Reinvestment Act in the coming weeks, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said today, and it has been waiting in order to build consensus with other banking agencies. “We’re hopeful that this can be a joint agency action,” he said while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.

As he has mentioned publicly on prior occasions, Otting emphasized that the agency’s primary goals for CRA are to expand and provide clarity regarding bank activities that receive CRA consideration, revisit the current assessment area concept and increase transparency and consistency in how CRA performance is measured.

Another priority for the agency is in addressing anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act rules and supervision, Otting said. He said the federal banking regulators met last month and presented recommendations to the Treasury Department and its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. “We do not have a risk-based examination program; it’s one-size-fits-all,” he said. “We need to bring balance.” He also emphasized the need to raise the $10,000 threshold for Currency Transaction Reports, which he said traps law-abiding business owners and bank customers with accusations of structuring. “We produce a lot of paper and I’m not sure we get to the point where we’re catching the right people.”

Otting also discussed his priorities on small-dollar lending, regulatory capital, Volcker Rule reforms and OCC effectiveness. Since he joined the agency last fall, he said the agency has cut decision and document review time from 22 days to eight and trimmed the agency’s expected costs in fiscal year 2018 by 5 percent.