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OCC senior deputy comptroller discusses fair lending

Bank Regulatory Federal Issues OCC Fair Lending Consumer Finance Appraisal

On November 14, Senior Deputy Comptroller for Bank Supervision Policy Grovetta Gardineer delivered remarks on behalf of acting Comptroller Michael J. Hsu before the CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium to discuss the agency’s ongoing efforts to ensure its regulated institutions provide fair and equitable credit services. Among other topics, Gardineer mentioned the agency’s initiatives to identify and address discriminatory lending practices, including addressing fair lending in advanced analytics and reducing barriers to financial inclusion. Noting that the banking industry has evolved “rapidly,” Gardineer stated that the OCC has “remained focused on the solid foundation of our mission,” and identified “three strategic goals: (1) agility and learning; (2) credibility and trust; and (3) leadership in supervision.”

She also said that the OCC is enhancing its risk-based supervisory approach by, among other things, “[r]ecognizing our strategic goal for ‘agility and learning,’” and by “conducting fair lending risk assessments during every supervisory cycle for each bank that engages in retail lending.” Regarding the agency’s efforts to reduce inequality in banking, Gardineer stated that the OCC has taken an active role on the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity, or PAVE, which is an initiative to evaluate the causes, extent, and consequences of appraisal bias. As previously covered by InfoBytes in March, the thirteen member agencies and offices of the PAVE Task Force came together in an extraordinary interagency effort to issue the Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity, which represents “the most wide-ranging set of reforms ever put forward to advance equity in the home appraisal process.”

Gardineer also disclosed that the OCC is developing other internal measures to enhance credibility and trust, including measures to “improv[e] supervisory methods for identifying potential discrimination in property valuations.” In regard to addressing fair lending in advanced analytics, Gardineer warned that “the growing use of advanced analytics such as artificial intelligence or machine learning offers both the opportunity to help reduce inequality and to address safety, soundness, and fairness risks,” and emphasized that the agency “supports fair, ethical, responsible, and transparent adoption of advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, in the financial sector.”

In terms of the future, she highlighted that “the OCC is focused on strengthening our supervision processes and resources devoted to compliance with fair lending laws, while enhancing our ability to remain agile and successfully execute our mission to ensure that national banks and federal savings associations operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations..”

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