The OCC's primary mission is to charter, regulate, and supervise all national banks and federal savings associations. We also supervise the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. Our goal in supervising banks and federal savings associations is to ensure that they operate in a safe and sound manner and in compliance with laws requiring fair treatment of their customers and fair access to credit and financial products.
The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The President, with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate, appoints the Comptroller to head the agency for a five-year term. The Comptroller also is a director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and NeighborWorks® America.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the OCC has four district offices plus an office in London to supervise the international activities of national banks. The OCC's nationwide staff of bank examiners conducts on-site reviews of national banks and federal savings associations (or federal thrifts) and provides sustained supervision of these institutions’ operations. Examiners analyze loan and investment portfolios, funds management, capital, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to market risk for all national banks and federal thrifts, and compliance with consumer banking laws for national banks and thrifts with less than $10 billion in assets. They review internal controls, internal and external audit, and compliance with law. They also evaluate management's ability to identify and control risk.
In regulating national banks and federal thrifts, the OCC has the power to:
- Examine the national banks and federal thrifts.
- Approve or deny applications for new charters, branches, capital, or other changes in corporate or banking structure.
- Take supervisory actions against national banks and federal thrifts that do not comply with laws and regulations or that otherwise engage in unsound practices. Remove officers and directors, negotiate agreements to change banking practices, and issue cease and desist orders as well as civil money penalties.
- Issue rules and regulations, legal interpretations, and corporate decisions governing investments, lending, and other practices.
The OCC does not receive appropriations from Congress. Instead, the OCC's operations are funded primarily by assessments on national banks and federal savings associations. National banks and federal thrifts pay for their examinations, and they pay for the OCC's processing of their corporate applications. The OCC also receives revenue from its investment income, primarily from U.S. Treasury securities.
The OCC's Objectives
The OCC's activities are predicated on four objectives that support the agency's mission to ensure a stable and competitive national system of banks and savings associations:
- Ensure the safety and soundness of the national system of banks and savings associations.
- Foster competition by allowing banks to offer new products and services.
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of OCC supervision, including reducing regulatory burden.
- Ensure fair and equal access to financial services for all Americans.
By law, the OCC is prohibited from releasing information from its safety and soundness examinations to the public. National banks and federal savings associations must, however, submit regular reports of their condition and income to the FDIC, available on its Web site.
Recognizing the important role that minority-owned banks and savings associations play in addressing financial services needs in the communities they serve, the OCC is committed to encouraging the success of these financial institutions.
The FDIC insures all types of deposits—CD's, checking, savings, money market, and NOW accounts—held in all FDIC-insured depository institutions, including national banks. The permanent standard insurance amount is $250,000, per depositor, per insured depository institution for each account ownership category. In addition, all deposits held in noninterest-bearing transaction accounts are fully insured, separately from any interest-bearing deposits the owner may hold at the same bank, through December 31, 2012.