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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OCC approves bank to surpass Section 23A thresholds

Bank Regulatory OCC Federal Issues

The OCC recently published redacted Interpretive Letter #1181, in which the OCC granted a national bank’s application for exemption from the quantitative limits under Section 23A to allow the bank to purchase an affiliate LLC that owns the premises on which the bank’s headquarters and main office are located. According to the letter, the affiliate transaction would exceed ten percent of the bank’s capital stock and surplus and would cause the aggregate amount of the bank's covered transactions with all affiliates beyond 20 percent of the bank’s capital stock and surplus. Exceeding either of these thresholds would requires an exemption, but the OCC believed a waiver was appropriate given the anticipated reduction in the bank's operating costs. Moreover, the OCC reasoned that the exemption would fortify the bank's financial standing, enhancing its ability to improve the services it provides to customers and communities. The FDIC agreed and determined that an exemption would not pose an unacceptable risk to the Deposit Insurance Fund. For these reasons, the OCC approved the exception and permitted the purchase to move forward.