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OCC proposes rule to amend assessment fees to help OTS transition

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The Office of Comptroller of the Currency is reshaping assessment fee schedules for financial institutions to facilitate the transition of regulatory power to the agency from the Office of Thrift Supervision. The OCC proposed a rule Wednesday to amend its internal assessment rules to include federal savings associations. Assessment fees, which are paid semi-annually to the OCC by the financial institutions it supervises, vary depending on the federal regulator. On July 21, the OCC will absorb the supervisory duties of OTS as mandated under the Dodd-Frank Act. The OTS was Countrywide Financial Corp.'s regulator when the mortgage finance company went under in 2008. To make the transition of these regulatory powers as smooth as possible, the OCC will provide just one assessment fee schedule for both national banks and federal savings associations. Thrift assessments normally due on July 31 would be deferred to September 30, according to the rule. Assessments would still be based on June data. The OCC also plans to compute assessments under the schedules of both agencies for fees due in September and March 2012. Federal savings associations will pay the lesser of the two fees, the rule states. Beginning with assessments charged in September 2012, the OCC will assess institution fees based on a single-fee schedule regardless of charter. Banks and thrifts will be subject to identical assessment methodologies, rates, fees, and payment due dates under the rule, the agency said Wednesday. "While some federal savings associations would pay more under the OCC assessment rule, others would pay less. In fact, the thrift industry as a whole would have paid $18 million less in 2010 under the proposal," according to the OCC. The proposed rule is being published in the Federal Register on Thursday and is open for comment until June 27. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.

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