UPDATED: Hurricane in Gulf Coast, wildfires in CA, CO prompt regulator to allow banks to close if threatened

Wildfires ravaging or threatening communities in California and Colorado – and a strengthening hurricane approaching the Gulf Coast — have moved the regulator of national banks to allow financial institutions to close offices in those locations at their discretion, the agency said Monday.

The proclamation from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) also affects federal savings associations and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the affected areas.

The OCC said it expects that only those bank offices directly affected by potentially unsafe conditions will close. “Those offices should make every effort to reopen as quickly as possible to address the banking needs of their customers,” the agency said.

The agency noted (as it typically does) that it has issued a bulletin (OCC Bulletin 2012-28, “Supervisory Guidance on Natural Disasters and Other Emergency Conditions”) that provides guidance on the actions banks and the other institutions should consider taking in areas affected by natural disaster or other emergency.

OCC Allows National Banks and Federal Savings Associations Affected by California and Colorado Wildfires to Close

OCC Allows National Banks and Federal Savings Associations Along U.S. Gulf Coast to Close