The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a finalized rule on ensuring fair access to banking services from large national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign bank organizations, according to a press release.
With the rule, a decade of OCC guidance saying that the banks should work with risk assessment of individual customers is codified, rather than the alternative of making assumptions affecting whole categories of customers while working with services, capital or credit, the release stated.
The rule will apply to banks with over $100 billion in assets and that may have overt power or influence over parts of the country’s economy, according to the release.
Banks will still be able to determine the product lines they use, as well as geographic markets, and they will be able to make decisions about what and whom to serve, the release stated. But the rule makes it so the banks will have to make the products and services available to all customers in the communities they serve “based on consideration of quantitative, impartial, risk-based standards established by the bank.”
“When a large bank decides to cut off access to charities or even embassies serving dangerous parts of the world or companies conducting legal businesses in the United States that support local jobs and the national economy, they need to show their work and the legitimate business reasons for doing so,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks. “As comptrollers and staff in previous administrations have made clear in speeches, guidance and testimony, banks should not terminate services to entire categories of customers without conducting individual risk assessments.”
In November, Brooks said fair access to financial services is “essential” to the economy, making sure that banks meet the duties of the special powers they hold in society.