OCC, FDIC Issue Guidance for Banks Closing Branches Due to Coronavirus

The OCC today issued guidance for banks that may need to temporarily close or otherwise restrict access to a facility due to staffing issues or other precautionary measures related to the coronavirus pandemic. The agency directed institutions to notify their supervisory office and their customers about the closure and to communicate the availability of alternative service options “as soon as practical.”

The OCC also encouraged banks to work constructively with borrowers and others affected by the virus in their communities. The agencies emphasized that “prudent efforts to modify the terms on existing loans for affected customers should not be subject to examiner criticism.” Such efforts could include extending repayment terms, restructuring existing loans or easing terms for new loans.

The FDIC also issued its own statement encouraging banks to work with customers in accordance with safe and sound banking practices. The agency said it would work with state regulatory agencies to expedite requests to open temporary facilities for banks that may be facing operational challenges. “In most cases, a telephone notice to the FDIC or state authority will suffice to start the approval process, with the necessary written notification being submitted shortly thereafter,” the FDIC said.

This article has been updated.