U.S. bank regulator further cuts supervision costs for banks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S. bank regulator announced on Monday it was further slashing how much it charges large banks to cover the costs of monitoring them.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said banks would pay 10% less in fees in 2020, the second straight year it has cut costs by that amount.

The move is expected to save banks $85 million, according to an agency spokesman. The OCC estimated it would collect $1.1 billion in such fees in fiscal 2019, according to its annual budget request.

Joseph Otting, a former banker now leading the agency, said the regulator can charge banks less after finding ways to operate more efficiently.

“Now that we have demonstrated the ability to operate successfully at a lower cost, we can reduce the assessments we charge, while ensuring the federal banking system operates in a safe, sound, and fair manner,” he said in a statement.

The decision to trim the fee comes after the OCC projected a slight increase in the amount of fees it would collect in its fiscal 2020 budget proposal, which it released in March.

The OCC charges a fee to cover day-to-day supervision of national banks, based on a percentage of their total assets, with the largest banks covering most of the agency’s budget.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder