Fed will resume all exam activities, on offsite basis, now that banks have adapted to coronavirus crisis

Examination activities for all banks will be resumed, all on an offsite basis until conditions related to the coronavirus crisis improve, the Federal Reserve said Monday.

The announcement reverses the agency’s position announced in March that it would follow a “reduced focus on exam activity” in light of the coronavirus response.

On March 24, the Fed said monitoring and outreach to help financial institutions would be the focus of its action, and examination activities would be reduced – especially at smaller banks – as the coronavirus crisis ramped up.

On exams, the Fed said in March that all examination activities would be conducted off-site until normal operations were resumed at the bank and reserve banks. However, the Fed said Monday that since March banks have had time to implement contingency operating plans and adapt their operations, “exam activity will resume.”

According to the Fed, banks with less than $100 billion in total assets have generally seen no regular exam activity, the agency said – except where an exam is critical to safety and soundness or consumer protection, or necessary to address an urgent or immediate need.

Banks with more than $100 billion in assets saw a deferred significant portion of their planned exam activity, the Fed said, based on the central bank’s assessment of the burden on the institution and the importance of the exam activity to the supervisory understanding of the firm, consumer protection, or financial stability.

The Fed Monday said it would “continue to work with banks to understand any specific issues they may be facing.”

Federal Reserve Board announces it will resume examination activities for all banks, after previously announcing a reduced focus on exam activity in light of the coronavirus response