The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Monday proposed increasing by 25% the annual fee it charges poorly run national banks.

The measure would require banks with Camels ratings of 3, 4, or 5 to pay the increased fees, which are based on asset size and cover the cost of exams. It would take effect Jan. 1 and is expected to affect 84 of the 2,656 national banks.

For a $110 million-asset institution, the hike would add $9,500 to the bank's $38,000 annual fee.

The change would have little impact on the agency's revenue next year, said Judith A. Walter, senior deputy comptroller for administration. But if the economy worsens, the surcharges would cover the higher costs of supervising more frail institutions, she said.

"Going forward this scheme is intended to ensure that we have the revenue we need in a weaker environment," Ms. Walter said.

Industry consolidation has put severe budget pressure on the Comptroller's Office. In the past year the number of national banks has declined by almost 200, causing revenues to drop $20 million per year. In response, the agency has eliminated more than 500 jobs.

The proposal was published in today's Federal Register. Public comments are due by Nov. 20.

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