WASHINGTON — Following other steps intended to clarify the new charter application process, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. published a procedures manual Monday for its own staff on evaluating deposit insurance applications.

The manual, which the public will have 60 days to comment on, is divided into six sections, with parts on pre-filing activities, application review and the pre-opening process, among other things.

“Issuing the manual publicly will provide transparency and benefit applicants and other interested parties by further clarifying the path to establishing a de novo institution,” FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a statement accompanying the release of the document.

FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg
“Issuing the manual publicly will provide transparency and benefit applicants and other interested parties by further clarifying the path to establishing a de novo institution,” said FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg. Bloomberg News

The manual's publication comes after the FDIC has received criticism for application delays, despite the agency's insistence that it is open for business.

Just last month, acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika publicly challenged the FDIC’s role in handling de novo applications.

In testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Noreika suggested that the FDIC should effectively be stripped of its ability to weigh in on de novo applications.

“To facilitate new entrants into the market, Congress could streamline the process of forming de novo banks by allowing banks that receive deposits (other than trust funds) to obtain FDIC deposit insurance upon certification of the OCC when the OCC charters and authorizes new banks to commence business,” Noreika said in prepared remarks.

Noreika also suggested that Congress should legislate on the time period the FDIC would have to respond to a new application, “such as 30 days,” he said.

In its manual, the FDIC said that it “strives" to act on all federal deposit insurance applications "within 120 to 180 days of receiving a substantially complete application.”

Last year, Gruenberg said the agency had reduced the probation time for newly chartered institutions from seven years to the pre-crisis period of three years. In May, the FDIC released a handbook advising de novo applicants on the process, ranging from pre-filing to pre-opening activities.

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Lalita Clozel

Lalita Clozel covers fintech regulation, anti-money-laundering, cybersecurity and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in American Banker's Washington bureau.