Regulators Looking at Smaller Teams When Onsite Exams Resume

On-site bank examinations will happen, but regulators still do not know when.

“In terms of exam logistics, we do hope in the very near future that we will return to some level of on-site supervision,” said William Haas, deputy comptroller for midsize bank supervision at the OCC, during a roundtable Thursday at ABA’s Risk and Compliance Virtual Conference.

“We’re being absolutely mindful of our own safety protocols and the safety protocols that every institution has in place. So if the view is right now, if they are not ready to have us back in the institution, we are respectful of that. I think as we do get back into banks, I think you can probably expect we will have smaller on-site teams for a period of time.”

Teams will be made up of an examiner in charge, “a few key players,” as well as examiners working remotely, Haas said. He added that OCC will be mindful where examiners’ are traveling from when venturing to banks, particularly if coming from pandemic hot spots.

“All the agencies are working very closely with one another,” said Pete Hirsch, associate director, large bank supervision, division of risk management supervision at the FDIC, speaking at the ABA conference. “Consistency is a key factor in this process. We are trying to identify vulnerabilities and re-focus and re-shift resources based on that.

“This is really something we have all been focusing on the last few years, how we do more work off-site. So we have some good inroads going in. But there are considerable challenges going forward. Nothing replaces the on-site, face-to-face discussions with bank management in terms of getting the information and doing the examinations.”