On June 17, 2009, the Obama administration publicly announced its vision of regulatory reform. Among the key points for community banks and thrifts:
- Combine the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) into a new federal agency, the National Bank Supervisor, which would remain an office of the Treasury Department. The National Bank Supervisor would have all the powers of the OCC and the OTS. The Federal Reserve and FDIC would retain their respective roles with respect to state banks.
- Eliminate the federal thrift charter, subject to “reasonable” transition arrangements.
- Eliminate restrictions on interstate branching by national and state banks. States would not be allowed to prevent de novo branching into the state, or to impose a minimum age requirement of in-state banks that can be acquired by an out-of-state banking firm.
- Thrift holding companies and Industrial Loan Company (ILC) holding companies would both be required to become Bank Holding Companies supervised by the Federal Reserve.
- Create a new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). The CFPA is proposed to have sole authority to promulgate and interpret regulations under existing consumer financial services and fair lending statutes, including TILA, HOEPA, RESPA, CRA, and HMDA. The CFPA is also proposed to assume from the federal prudential regulators all responsibilities for the supervision, examination and enforcement of consumer financial protection regulations.
- States would have the authority to adopt and enforce stricter laws, and federally chartered institutions would be subject to nondiscriminatory state consumer protection and civil rights laws to the same extent as other financial institutions.
As a reminder, we are the very beginning of regulatory reform; the final reforms are undoubtedly not going to be exactly as laid out in the President’s current proposal.