OCC Bulletin 2020-111| December 23, 2020

Activities and Operations of National Banks and Federal Savings Associations: Final Rule

To

Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks, Federal Savings Associations, and Federal Branches and Agencies; Department and Division Heads; All Examining Personnel; and Other Interested Parties

Summary

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has issued a final rule to amend its regulations in 12 CFR 7, “Activities and Operations.” Specifically, the final rule updates or eliminates outdated regulatory requirements that no longer reflect the modern financial system, clarifies and codifies recent OCC interpretations, integrates certain regulations for national banks and federal savings associations (FSA), and makes other technical and conforming changes. The amendments are effective April 1, 2021.

Note for Community Banks

The amendments in this final rule apply to all national banks and, where stated, all federal savings associations, including community institutions.

Highlights

The final rule makes the following changes, among others:

  • Incorporates and streamlines OCC interpretations addressing permissible derivatives activities for national banks.
  • Codifies OCC interpretations to permit national banks and FSAs to engage in certain tax equity finance transactions.  
  • Codifies OCC interpretations regarding national bank membership in payment systems and clarifies that FSAs are subject to the same requirements as national banks.
  • Expands the ability of national banks and FSAs to choose corporate governance provisions under state law.
  • Clarifies the extent to which a national bank may adopt anti-takeover provisions permissible under state corporate governance law.
  • Codifies OCC interpretations of the National Bank Act relating to capital stock issuances and repurchases.
  • Clarifies when national bank participation in a financial literacy program on the premises of, or a facility used by, a school or other organization would not be a branch.
  • Applies rules relating to finder activities, indemnification, equity kickers, postal services, independent undertakings, and hours and closings to FSAs.

Background

Consistent with safety and soundness, the OCC periodically reviews its regulations to eliminate outdated or otherwise unnecessary regulatory provisions and, where possible, to clarify or revise requirements imposed on national banks and FSAs. These reviews are in addition to the OCC’s decennial review of its regulations as required by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA). These reviews also consider, where appropriate, opportunities to integrate rules that apply to national banks with similar rules that apply to FSAs. This final rule is a continuation of the OCC’s regulatory review process and accompanies other OCC efforts to modernize OCC rules, remove unnecessary burden, and clarify requirements, including the finalized revisions to 12 CFR 5, “Licensing Amendments,” issued on December 11, 2020, and an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that requested comment on revising the OCC’s regulations at 12 CFR 7, subpart E, and 12 CFR 155 regarding the use of digital technology by national banks and FSAs, published in the Federal Register on July 7, 2020.

Further Information

Please contact Beth Kirby, Assistant Director, Valerie Song, Assistant Director, or Heidi Thomas, Special Counsel, Chief Counsel’s Office, at (202) 649-5490.

 

Jonathan V. Gould
Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief Counsel

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