National banks' OCC exam fees to be cut 10% in 2019

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WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is reducing the semiannual assessments it charges on its regulated banks by 10% for 2019, the agency said Friday.

The reduced assessment is in response to “cost savings” at the OCC, and its projected costs and revenue next year, the OCC said in its bulletin. The agency estimates it will lower assessments collected from banks by more than $90 million next year.

“We have a responsibility to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us, and as assets within the federal banking system have grown, so have the assessments collected by the agency,” Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a press release. “The agency has demonstrated it can reduce its costs by operating more effectively and efficiently while still ensuring the federal banking system operates in a safe, sound, and fair manner.”

The OCC uses a scale of assessments it charges banks that is based on an institution's size. For example, next year a bank with $40 billion of on-balance sheet assets will be charged a semiannual assessment of roughly $2.2 million. A bank with $250 billion of assets will be charged an assessment of about $9.5 million. At the lower end, a bank with $1 billion of assets will be charged an assessment of $112,000. A bank with $100 million of assets will be charged $23,000.

The lower assessments take effect March 31. The OCC-regulated banks will pay their assessments by March 31 and September 30.

In addition, the OCC said it would refund banks that leave the federal banking system within the first half of a semiannual assessment period but not if a bank leaves in the second half.

“The OCC is adopting this revised policy so that banks will not be required to pre-pay for three months of supervision after they are no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the OCC,” the agency said.

National banks that need additional supervision will continue to have a surcharge built into their assessment amount. The OCC charges a $110 hourly rate for having to do a special exam or investigation, among other additional fees.

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