Tuesday, January 15, 2013

OCC Chief Sees Dodd-Frank Corrections Legislation in 2013

It is likely that Congress will pass Dodd-Frank technical corrections legislation this year, said OCC Thomas Curry, adding that some corrections will be a bit more substantive than technical. But, he assured that the basic legislative framework will not undergo significant change. Thus, the Volcker Rule and the risk retention rules currently being finalized by the SEC, CFTC and the banking regulators are not likely to change much as a result of anything Congress might do. He said that the Volcker Rule and the risk retention regulations will be finalized in ``relatively short order.’’ He noted that regulators are continuing to work on the Basel III capital regulation.

Regarding Basel III, regulators are closely reviewing the comment letters and are especially focused on the provisions that might have an outsized impact on smaller banks and thrifts.

Some of the standards set out in the proposed rulemaking are clearly appropriate for banking institutions of all sizes, and they belong in the rulemaking. For example, I think most of us would agree that we should exclude from regulatory capital those instruments that can’t be trusted to be there when they are most needed to absorb losses. Likewise, the idea of restricting bonuses and dividend distributions for institutions that are nearing minimum capital ratios also seems sound.

But other elements are clearly not appropriate for smaller banks and thrifts, and our proposed rulemaking reflects that. For example, the counter-cyclical buffer as proposed applies only to large banks, and, of course, the parts of the proposal related to the advanced approaches don’t apply to community institutions either. I can assure you that we are giving very close attention to all of the issues that have been raised in the comment process, and we are doing our best to craft rules that will maintain strong capital standards without unduly increasing burden.