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(Adds background about fees)
WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - A top U.S. bank regulator on Monday proposed raising the fees big banks pay to fund the agency, as the burden and workload for bank supervisors increases after the financial crisis.
Unlike most federal agencies, which are funded by Congress, bank regulators including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) fund themselves through assessments on the firms they oversee.
The OCC regulates national banks and the U.S. branches of foreign banks. Each bank pays a base fee, which is determined by 11 asset-size brackets, plus an extra amount based on how much its assets exceed the lower limit of its bracket.
That extra amount is calculated using a variable rate known as the marginal assessment rate. Those rates were not increased between 1995 and 2013, the OCC said.
Lawmakers increased the responsibilities placed on bank regulators with the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. The OCC had to dedicate resources to rule-writing required by the law and additional supervision to make sure banks comply.
The law also disbanded another financial regulator, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and transferred some of its responsibilities and staff to the OCC.
The OCC proposed boosting its funding for those new activities by raising the marginal assessment rates for banks with more than $40 billion in assets by 14.5 percent starting on Sept. 30, 2014.
Big banks' total assessments by the OCC, including the base fee, would increase by an average of 12 percent, the agency said.
"We expect the effect on the twenty-five institutions with more than $40 billion in total assets to be nominal," the OCC said. It also said the increase would not affect most of its banks, which fall below the $40 billion asset threshold.
Regulators asked for comments from the industry on the proposed changes by June 12, 2014. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Douwe Miedema; Editing by Nick Zieminski)