Bank, credit union regulators propose modernizing rules that reflect electronic pleadings in proceedings, rather than paper

Updating rules governing formal administrative proceedings for insured depository institutions by aligning them with current practices and facilitating the use of electronic communications and technology in formal administrative proceedings was proposed jointly Wednesday by the federal banking and credit union regulators.

According to the proposal issued by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), uniform rules and local rules adopted by the regulators in 1996 have remained largely unchanged, while the practice of administrative hearings has changed fundamentally with the introduction of electronic communication and transmission.

The agencies noted that those rules were put in place when they only accepted paper pleadings. Much has changed since then, the agencies indicated. By 2006, they noted, paper pleadings were virtually eliminated in administrative hearings. “Without rules in place to address electronic pleadings, the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) opted to dictate procedures pertaining to electronic filing and other items on an ad hoc basis in their scheduling orders,” the proposal states.

The proposal identifies sections of the Uniform Rules that should be modified to recognize electronic pleadings and communications in administrative hearings and other sections that require modification based on the experience of the agencies in administrative litigation, they wrote.

In addition, the proposal states, the OCC, Federal Reserve, and FDIC propose to amend certain sections of their local rules that they believe should be updated, improved, or clarified.

The OCC also proposes to consolidate its uniform and local rules by applying the rules to both national bank- and federal savings association-related proceedings and investigations and removing its separate enforcement-related rules for the savings associations.

The OCC also proposes to amend to add a new section to its rules that would address service of process.

The agencies stated that they intend that any final rules issued in connection with the rulemaking will only apply to actions filed after the effective date of any final rule.

Comments are by June 13 (reflecting a 60-day comment period).

Agencies Propose to Update and Modernize the Uniform Rules of Practice and Procedure for Formal Administrative Enforcement Proceedings