UPDATED: Proposal allows national bank powers for FSAs up to $20 billion, per reg relief law

Federal savings associations with $20 billion or less in consolidated assets could elect to operate with national bank powers – while taking on the duties and restrictions applied to national banks – under a proposed rule issued Monday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to carry out a provision of the recently enacted regulatory relief law.

The OCC, three days before Comptroller of the Currency Joseph P. Otting is due to testify on Capitol Hill on the law’s implementation, describes the proposal as providing FSAs “more business flexibility.”

“The OCC has long advocated for greater flexibility for federal savings associations to adapt to the needs of their customers and the marketplace without the burdens and costs of changing federal charters,” Otting is quoted saying in the OCC’s press release announcing the proposed rule. “I am pleased that the measure was included among the bipartisan, common sense reforms enacted this spring. The agency will work expeditiously to implement this important change.”

The proposed rule would implement section 206 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA, S. 2155). The act requires the OCC to issue regulations to allow federal savings associations with total consolidated assets of $20 billion or less as of Dec. 31, 2017, to elect to operate with national bank powers. Federal savings associations that make the election generally would have the same rights and privileges as a national bank and be subject to the same duties, restrictions, penalties, liabilities, conditions, and limitations that apply to national banks.

“The proposed rule aims to provide federal savings associations with additional flexibility to adapt to new economic conditions and business environments without having to change their charters,” the OCC announcement says.

Comments are due Nov. 19.

Notice of proposed rulemaking