OCC Pauses Publication of Fair Access Rule

The OCC announced today that it will pause the publication of a controversial final rule stating that banks should provide access to services, capital and credit based on their risk assessment of individual customers and not make broad-based decisions that affect whole categories or classes of customers. The rule—which was finalized earlier this month on the eve of Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks’ departure from the agency—will undergo a review by the next confirmed comptroller “as part of an orderly transition,” the OCC said.

Among other things, the rule would have required covered national banks and federal savings associations (generally, those with $100 billion or more in assets) to provide financial products and services to businesses on proportionally equal basis and not deny service except based on documented failure to meet quantitative standards.

ABA had vigorously opposed the rule on the grounds that the OCC lacked the statutory authority to pursue the rulemaking and did not meet procedural requirements for issuing the proposal. ABA also expressed concerns that the OCC seriously underestimated the cost burden that it would impose upon covered banks.