Preparing for bank exams can mean the difference between furthering or hindering a foreign bank's U.S. strategy. That's a simple, yet daunting task, given the heavy reliance on "clean" exam ratings by the Federal Reserve, state banking departments, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Obviously, banks should always demonstrate that they have an effective risk management, internal control, and compliance infrastructure. They also should apply some common sense before, during, and after an exam to get the results needed to demonstrate compliance and further expand in the United States.

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