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Coumo v. Clearing House Assn., L.L.C.

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The Supreme Court created a little crack in the armor of the OCC's interpretation of the National Bank Act (NBA) on June 29, 2009, when it partially reversed a lower court ruling that the OCC's regulations prevented the Attorney General of the State of New York from issuing an information request to national banks "in lieu of subpoena" for nonpublic information about their lending practices. The AG was attempting to gather information to determine if certain national banks had violated the state's fair lending laws. Specifically, the Court ruled that "visitorial powers" are separate from the power to enforce the law, and that the OCC's interpretation of "visitorial powers" (which states cannot exercise over national banks) to include "enforcing compliance with any applicable federal or state laws concerning" national banks' activities overreaches the language and intent of the National Bank Act.

We can expect that the OCC will be revising its regulations at 12 CFR § 7.4 in response to the ruling.

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