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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OCC outlines risk management guidance for loan purchases

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Risk Management

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On September 10, the OCC issued Bulletin 2020-81 to address sound risk management principles concerning loan purchase activities. The OCC reminded banks that loan purchase activities “are subject to certain regulatory standards and long-standing risk management guidelines,” and that banks are expected to engage in these activities “in a safe and sound manner and in compliance with applicable accounting standards, laws, and regulations.” Banks should also ensure loan purchase activities align with strategic plans and are supported by sound risk management systems, the OCC added. The Bulletin includes examples of sound risk management of loan purchase activities, such as (i) developing well-defined strategic plans; (ii) conducting underwriting analysis and due diligence of loans prior to purchase; (iii) evaluating ways loan purchase activities may affect “credit, strategic, reputation, interest rate, liquidity, compliance, and operational risks”; and (iv) ensuring policies and procedures “support effective processes for engaging in loan purchase activities.” Other topics addressed include credit administration, such as due diligence and independent credit analysis, loan portfolio and pool purchases, and recourse arrangements. The OCC also emphasized that because entering into new, modified, or expanded products or services may alter a bank’s risk profile, “bank management should engage in sound risk management to identify, measure, monitor, and control the risks associated with new loan purchase activities.”

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