The OCC has issued a proposed rule that would ensure fair access to banking services provided by national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign bank organizations.The proposal would codify more than a decade of OCC guidance stating that banks should provide access to services, capital, and credit based on the risk assessment of individual customers, rather than broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers.
The proposal would apply to the largest banks in the country that may exert significant pricing power or influence over sectors of the national economy and would require a covered bank to ensure it makes its products and services available to all customers in the community it serves, based on consideration of quantitative, impartial, risk-based standards established by the bank. Under the proposal, a covered bank’s decision to deny services based on an objective assessment of the person’s creditworthiness, ability to pay, or other quantitative, impartial, risk-based reasons would not violate the bank’s obligation to provide fair access. However, under the proposal, the bank may not deny a customer service to disadvantage, limit, or prevent the customer from entering or competing in a market or business segment, or to benefit another person or business activity.
A bank would be presumed not to meet the definition of a bank covered by the proposed rule if it has less than $100 billion in total assets.
Comments on the proposal will be accepted through January 4, 2021.