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Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

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The (OCC) is an independent arm of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that "charters, regulates, and supervises" all national banks.

In other words, it aims to maintain the integrity of the federal banking system. It also ensures that U.S. branches of foreign banks operate within the law.

What Is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s  Mission?

The OCC's mission is to ensure that federal savings associations and national banks operate safely and follow the law. The agency monitors these financial institutions to confirm that they're treating all consumers fairly and providing them with equal access to their financial services. The OCC also ensures that financial institutions comply with the Bank Secrecy Act, a law that fights money laundering.

History of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

President Abraham Lincoln established the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on February 25, 1863, when he signed The National Currency Act into law. Under this law, OCC was in charge of forming and managing a uniform national currency as well as a system of nationally chartered banks. Today, the OCC helps ensure economic stability and recovery and promotes responsible innovation by financial institutions to meet changing customer needs.

How the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Works

Since the OCC issues rules and regulations that govern the financial institutions it supervises, it may also take action against the banks that don't comply with those statutes. For example, the OCC might issue monetary fines or require them to stop any practices that violate its regulations. In addition, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency can remove directors and officers of the financial institutions it supervises.

Examiners from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency conduct onsite reviews of financial institutions. These examiners meet with a bank's board of directors and its managers to obtain information or discuss issues to help them make sound operational business decisions.

The OCC evaluates applications for new bank branches and other changes that banks want to make to how they operate. The Office of the Comptroller also reviews proposals from foreign banks that want to establish branches in the U.S. The agency helps banks play a role in community development and provide financial services to underserved consumers and communities.

The OCC can take steps to protect consumers by ensuring that financial institutions are treating them fairly and aren't abusing their power. The agency's HelpWithMyBank website assists consumers with common banking questions. Consumers can also file complaints against federal savings associations or national banks via the website.

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