WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released Tuesday its first risk appetite statement — a set of general guidelines on what level of risk the agency finds acceptable in various domains.

"The OCC's Risk Appetite Statement is an important step toward more rigorous and transparent risk management for our agency," said Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry in a statement. "It is a key component to better identification, evaluation, management, and communication of risks to the agency."

The 13-page document describes the agency's risk appetite as "overall conservative" — with varying degrees for nine different rubrics, ranging from supervision risk to technology and financial risk.

The OCC found it acceptable to face moderate risk in human capital, legal and external decisions. But for all six other categories, including supervision and technology, the agency's risk appetite is low.

"The agency will act in accordance with this risk appetite statement to achieve strategic objectives and remain a preeminent prudential supervisor," the statement reads.

The risk appetite statement — which comes after the release late last month of a white paper detailing the agency's approach to fintech innovation — is not set in stone.

"We plan to reevaluate our framework at least on an annual basis," said Linda Cunningham, the OCC's first chief risk officer, who was appointed last year. "This is an evolving area for us as well as the industry, and so we want to keep it fresh."'

Research for the statement was conducted within the agency, but the OCC sought feedback from industry and other groups as well, Cunningham said.

The document is "aspirational," Cunningham added. If the OCC is found to not comply with the risk appetite statement in some areas, she added, the agency will implement "strategies or corrective actions in order to bring ourselves back in line with our risk appetite."


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