OCC to focus supervisory efforts on non-SOFR rates after LIBOR ends
On October 26, acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu warned banks not to be complacent when transitioning away from LIBOR. Hsu reiterated that federal regulators will not allow new contracts that use LIBOR as a reference rate after December 31. Hsu stressed that banks must look outside of activities that directly involve LIBOR exposure, such as lending, derivatives activities, and market-making capacities, to screen for LIBOR exposure in other contexts, such as LIBOR-based loan participation interests or as part of an instrument for a bank’s investment or liquidity portfolio paying LIBOR-based income or otherwise reflecting LIBOR exposures. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the CFPB, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, NCUA, and OCC recently released a joint statement providing supervisory considerations for institutions when choosing an alternative reference rate. Hsu addressed the use of these alternative reference rates and reminded banks that they are expected to be able to demonstrate that their replacement rate is robust and appropriately tailored to their risk profile. He further commented that because the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) “provides a robust rate suitable for use in most products, with underlying transaction volumes that are unmatched by other alternatives,” the OCC will initially focus its supervisory efforts on non-SOFR rates.