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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Banking Regulator Admits to Flaws in Supervision of Community Banking Sales Practices

Federal Issues Consumer Finance OCC Consumer Complaints

Federal Issues

On April 19, the OCC released a report detailing the results of an internal review that concedes the regulator’s oversight of a national bank’s consumer complaints and whistleblower cases was “untimely and ineffective” and that OCC supervisors missed or failed to address warning signs throughout the course of the bank regulator’s recent investigation. The objective of the internal review was to, among other things, “identify gaps in supervision,” and “[d]etermine if there are lessons learned that can result in improved supervision process.” The report—which was prepared by the OCC’s Office of Enterprise Governance (OEG) and the Ombudsman—concluded, among other things, that OCC supervisors had “focused too heavily on bank processes versus what those processes were actually reporting,” and notes that the OCC’s internal review “found no evidence that supervisory activities included in-depth review and testing of monitoring systems and controls” over incentives-based sales compensation or sales integrity. In addition to identifying “lessons learned” and “missed opportunities,” the report also sets forth general recommendations that it believes the OCC’s large bank supervision division should consider in order to improve their practices going forward, including that the regulator “[d]evelop an enterprise-wide whistleblower process and update external-facing interfaces . . . to inform the public or other governmental agencies how to communicate whistleblower information to the OCC,” and that it also “[e]nsure issues or concerns are followed through to effective corrective action.”

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