The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is one of the key prudential regulators tasked with stepping in when the banking system craters, but now the overseer of national banks and federal thrifts is undergoing a little scrutiny of its own.
The agency released an independent study of its practices created by an international team of regulators charged with finding ways for the OCC to improve its regulatory role.
The group studied the OCC and its practices to give the regulator an independent look at where it’s succeeding in the oversight process.
The report also fired off a few warnings shots — including an advisory that a large number of OCC bank examiners are eligible for retirement in the near future. The takeway: the OCC needs to enhance its training prospects while figuring out how to transition to a new generation of examiners.
The study also offers independent solutions on how to fix various issues.
Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry responded to the report Thursday.
"We have not had time to conduct a thorough analysis of the report, but I can tell you from my initial review that it is a thoughtful document with a number of important recommendations that we can use to position the OCC to meet the challenges of the future," the comptroller said.
The outside examiners advised the OCC to adjust its mission statement and goals, making the safety and soundness of the banks it oversees the agency’s primary mission.
Furthermore, the report says the OCC should focus on identifying risks within the institutions it monitors. To do this, the reviewers advised the OCC to expand the roles of ‘lead experts' to ensure they have the ability to offer the best input when supervising large financial institutions.
To streamline examination operations and communications, the study also advised the agency to move subject matter experts from bank locations to OCC field offices.
And with so many bank examiners retiring, the report says the regulator should create a program to turn retirement-eligible staff into mentors.