Fed to resume bank supervision, but exams will remain off-site

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is resuming its regular schedule of bank examinations, but all exams will still be conducted remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, the central bank said Monday.

The Fed had issued a supervisory statement to banks March 24 saying that it would cut back its normal examinations to give banks more space to focus on their response to the pandemic. That included a shift to off-site-only supervision and stopping all reviews of banks with less than $100 billion of assets.

“Since that time, banks have had time to implement contingency operating plans and adapt their operations, so exam activity will resume,” the Fed said in a press release.

However, all examination activities will remain off-site until “conditions improve,” the Fed said.

The Fed's announcement came less than a week after acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks signaled a return to on-site exams for his agency in the near future.

In an op-ed published in American Banker, the head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said, "Our work is too important to rely solely on a phone, a webcam and a broadband connection.”

"Examination is a human endeavor that relies on situational awareness and judgment, and that works best face to face,” Brooks wrote.

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Federal Reserve Exams Coronavirus OCC Brian Brooks
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