Alert December 13, 2011

OCC Issues Bulletin Concerning Process of Integrating OTS Policy Guidance

The OCC issued a bulletin (the “Bulletin”) concerning the process it will use to integrate OTS policy guidance documents (the “OTS Guidance”).  The OCC said that it is beginning a comprehensive rulemaking project to integrate OTS rules applicable to federal savings associations with OCC rules applicable to national banks.  The OCC stated that its goal is “to produce a consistent supervisory approach and integrated policy platform for national banks and federal savings associations, while recognizing differences anchored in statute.”  The OCC noted that there are more than 1,000 OTS documents that the OCC will need to address.

The OCC stated that its process for integrating the OTS Guidance would involve two phases.  In Phase I the OCC intends to rescind certain documents, including OTS documents that:

(a)  transmitted or summarized rules, interagency guidance or Examination Handbook sections (but not the OTS guidance or rule itself);

(b)  are no longer useful because the OTS was merged into the OCC or because of the passage of time; and

(c)  duplicate existing OCC guidance.

The Bulletin also states that the OCC, during Phase I, will also rescind outdated OCC guidance.

During Phase II, the OCC stated that it would review OTS Guidance that requires further analysis, substantive revisions or combination with other guidance or that applies only to federal savings associations.  The OCC stressed in the Bulletin that former OTS Guidance remains applicable to federal savings associations until rescinded, superseded or retired by the OCC.