New acting comptroller hints at upcoming review of ‘key regulatory standards’

While saying his immediate focus as acting comptroller of the currency will be “solving urgent problems and addressing pressing issues,” Michael J. Hsu also said Monday that he will be announcing a “review of key regulatory standards, as well as various matters that are pending before the agency.”

Hsu, who started his new job as acting leader of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Monday after being named to the post Friday by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, said the review would “take into account a full range of views, both external and internal.“

“I want to make sure that we distinguish the forest from the trees, that changed circumstances due to the pandemic are considered, and that all alternatives are evaluated,” Hsu wrote in a statement shared with agency employees Monday.

As for urgent problems and pressing issues, Hsu said his top priority as “we await nomination and confirmation of the 32nd Comptroller” would be to focus on ensuring a safe, sound, and fair banking system.

“The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities, especially communities of color and rural communities, and the recovery threatens to leave many of them even further behind,” Hsu wrote.

He listed a number of other issues as well, including climate change (which poses “new risks and challenges for banks”), technological change and digitalization (which he said have accelerated and “are changing how people and businesses bank”), and complacency about risk-taking (which he called “of increasing supervisory concern as we enter a phase of growth and heightened competition”).

He also expressed gratitude to Blake Paulson for his “steady leadership as Acting Comptroller since Jan. 14” and for his long, distinguished service with the agency.” I am looking forward to working with him as Chief Operating Officer,” he said.

Michael J. Hsu Statement to Agency Employees on Becoming Acting Comptroller of the Currency