‘Transparency’ initiative paying off with thousands of public views of bank insurer’s website, chairman tells group

Agency also looking at tailoring capital rules for community banks not qualifying for proposed CBLR

About 10,000 website views per week of publicly available, previously unpublished information – and 50,000 unique visitors to the site – are signs that the federal bank deposit insurer’s program for greater transparency is having an impact, the chairman of the agency indicated Thursday.

In a speech, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Jelena McWilliams said the October-launched “Trust through Transparency” program is making her agency accountable to high standards. “My hope is that the ‘Trust through Transparency’ initiative will strengthen the bond of trust among consumers, banks, and the FDIC,” she told the Banking Institute sponsored by the University of North Carolina School of Law in Charlotte, N.C.

The previously unpublished information that is garnering the website visits and views, she said, includes how case managers and examiners implement the risk-focused supervision program, turnaround times for examinations, and guidelines and decisions related to appeals of material supervisory determinations.

She also told the group that more information is coming. “We are in the process of evaluating and continually releasing more information, so I encourage you to visit our website and pay close attention to our press releases and financial institution letters,” she said.

In other comments, the FDIC chairman said:

  • The agency is continuing to review its outstanding guidance documents, the role the papers play in the exam process, and the agency’s approach to issuing future supervisory guidance.
  • The FDIC is partnering with other federal financial institution regulators on an exam modernization project. She said the project is, among other things, exploring ways to use technology in the exam process. “For example, the project team is considering how technology can reduce regulatory burden by shifting examination work from on-site to off-site,” she said.
  • Noting that a key priority of hers is to substantially simplify capital requirements for community banks, she said the FDIC is working with the other federal banking regulators to tailor the risk-based capital rules for community banks that do not qualify for the proposed Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR). “We are focusing on the capital ratios and buffers community banks are subject to, and will revisit some of the more complicated calculations and risk-weightings currently required,” she said.

However, McWilliams told the group that the banking agencies estimate that more than 80% of community banks will be eligible for the CBLR. She said that estimate is based on the proposed calibration and qualifying criteria. “This was a key priority in designing the proposal – to ensure that the simple ratio would be available broadly,” she said.

Remarks by Jelena McWilliams, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on the “Principles of Supervision and Your Value to our Nation’s Banking System” at the Banking Institute sponsored by the University of North Carolina School of Law; Charlotte,