WASHINGTON, Sept 23 A top U.S. bank regulator
said on Monday it will call on foreign peers to help assess its
shortcomings after the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when it
failed to spot major lapses at some of the biggest firms it
Regulators failed to detect grave mistakes banks made in the
lead-up to the global crisis and in its aftermath, Comptroller
of the Currency Thomas Curry said, and were therefore not able
to force banks to fix those problems.
Top bank supervisors from Singapore, Australia and Canada
will review the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's
(OCC) oversight of the biggest U.S. banks to help root out flaws
in bank supervision, Curry said.
"There is plenty of blame to go around for the problems
we've seen in recent years... and some of it falls squarely on
the shoulders of the regulatory agencies, including the OCC,"
Curry said in remarks prepared for a conference.
Lawmakers and financial reform advocates assailed the OCC
after the crisis for appearing too close to the banks it oversaw
and for failing to spot the problems that led to the meltdown.
Later, the OCC came in for a storm of criticism of its
handling of widespread home foreclosure errors by big banks and
for seeming lax on anti-money laundering violations.
When JPMorgan Chase announced it had lost billions
on derivatives trades gone wrong, critics said the agency looked
asleep at the wheel for not seeing the losses coming. The OCC
and other agencies last week announced nearly $1 billion in
fines over the incident.
Curry, who was previously a director at the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp., set out to change the agency's reputation when
he joined the OCC in 2012.
On Monday, he said the OCC's internal review would look at
the culture at the agency, the way risks are identified, and any
gaps that let bank problems go unspotted by regulators.
In addition to the peer review by foreign supervisors -- who
hail from countries that Curry said weathered the financial
crisis relatively well -- the OCC plans to scrutinize the work
of each of its departments.
Curry said the inquiries would be structured like bank
exams, beginning with a letter explaining the scope of the
review and ending by sharing conclusions and tracking progress
at each of the departments.
Departments where deficiencies are detected will get
instructions to change, similar to those banks receive when the
agency wants them to fix problems, Curry said. He said he could
not give more detail because the project is in the early stages.