National banks get break on fees they pay regulator, which cites impact of coronavirus crisis

National banks and thrifts are getting a break on the fees they pay to cover the operations of their federal regulator due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the agency said Monday.

In an interim final rule issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the agency said assessments due from the banks and thrifts Sept. 30 would be based on year-end 2019 call report data, rather than mid-year 2020 data. Typically, the agency uses the mid-year numbers to set the assessments.

“This change will result in lower assessments for most OCC-supervised banks,” the OCC said in a bulletin (OCC Bulletin 2020-63).

Further, beyond using numbers that will be nine months old by the time the assessments are released, the agency said, it would give banks that have seen a decline in assets since mid-year (compared to year-end 2019) a break as well. The OCC said that If a bank’s assets as reported on the June 30, 2020, call report are lower than on the Dec. 31, 2019, call report, the OCC will calculate the assessment due on Sept. 30, 2020 for the bank using the June 30, 2020, call report.

“COVID-19 has significantly affected financial institutions, businesses, and consumers,” the agency said in its bulletin. “In light of the adverse economic effect of the extraordinary measures that have been taken to limit the public health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OCC is issuing this interim final rule to implement a one-time reduction in assessments for the upcoming semiannual assessment.

The agency also notes that the one-time reduction in the assessments, as outlined in the bulletin, follows at least two permanent assessment rate reductions made over the last two years: the 10% reduction for the 2019 assessment year and the additional 10% reduction in the assessment rate schedule for 2020

The interim final rule expires after the collection of assessments on Sept. 30. After that,  the agency said, semiannual assessments will be based on the total assets shown in each institution’s most recent call report preceding the payment date.

OCC Bulletin 2020-63: Assessments: Interim Final Rule