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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OCC’s proposed rule would ensure fair access to financial services

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance OCC Dodd-Frank Of Interest to Non-US Persons Bank Compliance

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On November 20, the OCC announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which seeks to ensure that national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign bank organizations offer and provide fair access to financial services “based on the risk assessment of individual customers, rather than broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers.” The NPRM implements language included in Title III of Dodd-Frank—“which charged the OCC with ‘assuring the safety and soundness of, and compliance with laws and regulations, fair access to financial services, and fair treatment of customers by, the institutions and other persons subject to its jurisdiction’”—and builds upon the principle of nondiscrimination. The NPRM would apply to the largest banks in the country and would prevent such banks from denying or limiting services in an effort to (i) prevent a person from entering or competing in a particular market; or (ii) disadvantage a person in order to benefit another person in which the bank has a financial interest. The OCC emphasizes in its press release that “a covered bank’s decision to deny services based on an objective assessment of the person’s creditworthiness, ability to pay, or other quantitative, impartial, risk-based reasons would not violate the bank’s obligation to provide fair access.” Comments on the NPRM are due by January 4, 2021.

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