WASHINGTON Jan 16 A U.S. bank regulator on
Thursday proposed tougher standards for big national banks that
would require executives to spell out their firms' risk
appetites and would boost oversight by their boards of
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued
the guidelines as part of its "heightened expectations" program
for the biggest U.S. banks.
Regulators have come under intense scrutiny for not cracking
down on dangerous activity that fueled the 2007-2009 financial
crisis. Lawmakers and consumer groups have blamed the OCC in
particular for letting banks take major risks without much
OCC officials have since tried to boost scrutiny of the
banks they regulate.
"The standards announced today build on lessons learned from
the financial crisis," Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry
said in a statement. "They will contribute to a safer financial
system for all of us by providing clear and enforceable
standards for the risk management and governance of our largest
Officials said the proposed requirements would apply to
national banks with more than $50 billion in assets. The agency
could apply the standards to smaller firms that officials deem
Under the standards, bank executives would need to detail
their firms' willingness to take risks, including quantitative
limits. Boards of directors, which would include at least two
members from outside the bank, would ensure the risk framework
was effective and that management followed it.
Boards also should challenge or oppose decisions by bank
managers that could threaten the banks' safety, the OCC said.
Firms that failed to meet the tougher standards would have
to craft a plan to comply and could eventually be subject to OCC
enforcement action, the agency said.
The OCC said it will take comments on the proposed changes
for 60 days.