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Financial Institution Letters

[Federal Register: October 22, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 204)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 56949-56953]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr22oc99-3]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

12 CFR Part 4

[Docket No. 99-13]
RIN 1557-AB60

FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM

12 CFR Part 211

[Regulation K; Docket No. R-1012]

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION

12 CFR Part 347

RIN 3064-AC15

 
Extended Examination Cycle For U.S. Branches and Agencies of 
Foreign Banks

AGENCIES: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury; Board of 
Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and the Federal Deposit 
Insurance Corporation.

ACTION: Joint final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board 
of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), and the Federal 
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (collectively, the Agencies) are 
adopting as a joint final rule their joint interim rule implementing 
section 2214 of the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). Section 2214 of EGRPRA authorizes the Agencies to 
extend the examination cycle for certain United States branches and 
agencies of foreign banks. This joint final rule makes United States 
branches and agencies of foreign banks with total assets of $250 
million or less eligible for an 18-month examination cycle if they meet 
certain qualifying criteria.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 22, 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: OCC: Martha Clarke, Senior Attorney, 
International Activities (202/874-0680); Jose Tuya, Director, 
International Banking & Finance (202/874-4730); or Karl Betz, Attorney, 
Legislative and Regulatory Activities (202/874-5090), Office of the 
Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E Street SW., Washington, D.C. 20219.
    Board: Barbara J. Bouchard, Manager, Division of Banking 
Supervision and Regulation (202/452-3072); or Jonathan D. Stoloff, 
Counsel, Legal Division (202/452-3269), Board of Governors of the 
Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, D.C. 20551.
    FDIC: Karen Walter, Chief, International Branch, Division of 
Supervision (202/898-3540); or Mark Mellon, Counsel, Regulation and 
Legislation Section, Legal Division (202/898-3854), Federal Deposit 
Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, D.C. 20429.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Background
    The International Banking Act of 1978 (the IBA),1 as 
amended by the Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act of 
1991,2 prescribed a 12-month examination schedule for U.S. 
branches and agencies of foreign banks. Section 2214 of EGRPRA modified 
that requirement by amending section 3105(c)(1)(C) of the IBA to 
provide that U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks are subject to 
on-site examination as frequently as national banks and state banks are 
examined by their appropriate federal banking agencies.3
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    \1\ Pub. L. 95-369, 92 Stat. 607.
    \2\ Pub. L. 102-242, 105 Stat. 2286.
    \3\ Section 2214 of EGRPRA, Pub. L. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009. 
Section 3105(c)(1)(C) is codified at 12 U.S.C. 3105(c)(1)(C).
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    In general, national banks and state banks must be examined every 
12 months. However, section 111 of the Federal Deposit Insurance 
Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 4 authorized an 18-month 
examination cycle for certain national banks and state banks with a 
composite rating of 1 under the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating 
System (UFIRS) and total assets of $100 million or less. Subsequently, 
section 306 of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory 
Improvement Act of 1994 5 expanded the availability of the 
18-month examination cycle to certain national banks and state banks 
with a composite rating of 1 under UFIRS and total assets of less than 
$250 million, as well as to certain national banks and state banks with 
a composite rating of 2 under UFIRS and total assets of $100 million or 
less. Finally, section 2221 of EGRPRA amended section 10(d) of the 
Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDI Act) 6 to provide that at 
any time after September 23, 1996, U.S. bank supervisory agencies could 
extend the 18-month examination cycle to certain national banks and 
state banks with a composite rating of 2 and total assets of $250 
million or less. Effective April 2, 1998,

[[Page 56950]]

the Agencies issued a final rule that extended the examination cycle to 
18 months for certain national banks and state banks that satisfy the 
requirements of section 2221 of EGRPRA. 63 FR 16377 (April 2, 1998). To 
be eligible for the extended cycle, the national bank or state bank 
must:
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    \4\ Pub. L. 102-242, 105 Stat. 2236 (section 111 is codified at 
12 U.S.C. 1820(d)).
    \5\ Pub. L. 103-325, 108 Stat. 2160.
    \6\ Section 10(d) of the FDI Act is codified at 12 U.S.C. 
1820(d)(10).
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    (a) Have total assets of $250 million or less;
    (b) Be rated a composite 2 or better under the UFIRS;
    (c) Be well capitalized;
    (d) Be well managed;
    (e) Not be subject to a formal enforcement action; and (f) Not have 
experienced a change of control during the preceding 12-month period in 
which a full-scope, on-site examination would have been required but 
for section 10(d) of the FDI Act.

Interim Rule

    To implement section 2214 of EGRPRA, the Agencies issued a joint 
interim rule on August 28, 1998, that similarly extended the 
examination cycle for certain U.S. branches and agencies of foreign 
banks. 63 FR 46118. Under the joint interim rule, a U.S. branch or 
agency of a foreign bank may be considered for an 18-month examination 
cycle if the branch or agency meets certain criteria and if there are 
no other factors that cause the appropriate federal banking agency to 
conclude that more frequent examinations of the branch or agency are 
appropriate. To be eligible for an 18-month examination cycle, the U.S. 
branch or agency of a foreign bank must:
    (a) Have total assets of $250 million or less;
    (b) Have received a composite ROCA 7 supervisory rating 
of 1 or 2 at its most recent examination;
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    \7\ The supervisory rating system for branches and agencies of 
foreign banks is referred to as ROCA. The four components of ROCA 
are: risk management, operational controls, compliance, and asset 
quality.
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    (c) Satisfy the requirements of either paragraph (1) or (2):
    (1) The foreign bank's most recently reported capital adequacy 
position consists of, or is equivalent to, Tier 1 and total risk-based 
capital ratios of at least 6 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on a 
consolidated basis; or
    (2) The branch or agency has maintained, on a daily basis over the 
past three quarters, eligible assets in an amount not less than 108 
percent of third party liabilities (determined consistent with 
applicable federal and state law) and sufficient liquidity is currently 
available to meet its obligations to third parties;
    (d) Not be subject to a formal enforcement action or order by the 
Board, FDIC, or OCC; and
    (e) Not have experienced a change in control during the preceding 
12-month period in which a full-scope, on-site examination would have 
been required but for section 3105(c)(1)(C) of the IBA.
    The Agencies noted in the joint interim rule that each Agency 
retains the authority to examine a U.S. branch or agency of a foreign 
bank as frequently as the Agency deems necessary. The joint interim 
rule also provided that, in determining whether a U.S. branch or agency 
of a foreign bank is eligible for an extended examination cycle, the 
Agencies may consider additional factors, including whether:
    (a) Any of the individual components of the ROCA rating of the U.S. 
branch or agency is rated 3 or worse;
    (b) The results of any off-site supervision indicate a 
deterioration in the condition of the U.S. branch or agency;
    (c) The size, relative importance, and role of a particular U.S. 
branch or agency when reviewed in the context of the foreign bank's 
entire U.S. operations otherwise necessitate an annual examination 
(including, for example, whether the office generates a significant 
level of assets that are booked elsewhere); and
    (d) The condition of the foreign bank itself gives rise to a need 
to examine the U.S. branch or agency every 12 months.
    The Agencies noted further that they generally will determine 
whether to apply the 18-month examination cycle to a particular U.S. 
branch or agency based on the overall risk assessment for that office, 
as well as the factors noted in the joint interim rule.
    Since U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks do not receive 
separate examination ratings of their management, the Agencies stated 
in the joint interim rule that they will use certain criteria as a 
proxy for the well managed criterion applicable to U.S. banks, 
including the ROCA component and composite ratings, the existence of 
any formal enforcement action or order issued by an Agency, and the 
other discretionary standards described in the preceding paragraph.
    The joint interim rule became effective immediately, but the 
Agencies invited public comment on any aspect of the joint interim 
rule. As discussed in the following paragraphs, the commenters strongly 
favored adopting the expanded examination cycle as set forth in the 
joint interim rule.

Comments Received

    In response to their request for comment on the joint interim rule, 
the Agencies received a total of seven comments, including six from 
banks and one from a trade association. The commenters strongly 
supported the expanded examination cycle for U.S. branches and agencies 
of foreign banks. They agreed that the expanded examination cycle would 
reduce regulatory burden on smaller, well-run branches and agencies 
that do not pose significant supervisory concerns.
    One commenter, while expressing support for the rule, requested 
that the Agencies clarify four points.
    First, the commenter sought clarification that the two tests for 
determining whether a branch or agency is well capitalized are 
alternative tests and that use of one test for one examination cycle 
does not preclude use of the other test in subsequent exam cycles. The 
commenter is correct. The criterion based on capital states that the 
U.S. branch or agency must satisfy the requirements of either test. 
Reliance on one of the eligibility tests for an extended examination 
cycle does not preclude subsequent reliance on the other test. The two 
capital adequacy tests contained in this rule are limited in their 
applicability to determining whether a branch or agency is eligible for 
an extended examination cycle. These two capital adequacy tests have no 
effect on special asset maintenance requirements.
    Second, the commenter also requested guidance as to how the ``well 
capitalized'' criterion will be implemented. Capital adequacy will be 
determined using regulatory and supervisory reports, and public 
information where appropriate. The foreign bank's capital adequacy may 
be assessed on the basis of the home country supervisor's capital 
standards if those standards are in all respects consistent with the 
Basel Accord.
    Third, the commenter requested that the Agencies clarify whether 
both eligible assets and average third party liabilities are to be 
determined consistent with applicable federal and state law. The 
commenter noted that the wording of the alternative capital test using 
eligible assets in the interim rule suggested that average third party 
liabilities were not to be determined in accordance with applicable 
federal and state law. The Agencies have amended that provision in the 
final rule to clarify that both eligible assets and average third party 
liabilities are to be determined consistent with applicable federal and 
state law.

[[Page 56951]]

    Finally, the commenter asked how the Agencies would determine the 
sufficiency of a branch's or agency's liquidity under the alternative 
capital test. The alternative capital test measures eligible assets 
against average third party liabilities over the past three quarters. 
The requirement that sufficient liquidity is available to meet 
obligations to third parties is designed to ensure that the branch or 
agency is able to meet unexpected demands in the event of a sudden 
economic downturn or other adverse events affecting the foreign bank or 
its U.S. offices subsequent to the last quarter measured under the 
alternative capital test. Accordingly, determinations regarding the 
sufficiency of a branch's or agency's liquidity need to be made on a 
case-by-case basis.

Final Rule

    In light of the comments received, the Agencies are adopting the 
joint interim rule as a joint final rule with the clarifications 
discussed above. Under the joint final rule, in order to be eligible 
for the extended examination cycle, a U.S. branch or agency of a 
foreign bank must:
    (a) Have total assets of $250 million or less;
    (b) Have a composite ROCA supervisory rating of 1 or 2 at its most 
recent examination;
    (c) Meet either of the ``well capitalized'' criteria noted above;
    (d) Not be subject to a formal enforcement action or order by the 
Board, FDIC, or OCC; and
    (e) Not have undergone a change in control during the preceding 12-
month period in which a full-scope, on-site examination would have been 
required but for section 3105(c)(1)(C) of the IBA. For purposes of this 
rule, a branch or agency of a foreign bank will be deemed to have 
undergone a change in control if it is sold to another foreign bank or 
if there has been a change in control of the foreign bank.
    The Agencies may consider other factors in determining whether a 
U.S. branch or agency that meets the foregoing criteria should not be 
eligible for an extended examination cycle. These discretionary factors 
include whether:
    (a) Any of the individual components of the ROCA rating of the U.S. 
office is rated 3 or worse;
    (b) The results of any off-site supervision indicate a 
deterioration in the condition of the office;
    (c) The size, relative importance, and role of a particular office 
when reviewed in the context of the foreign bank's entire U.S. 
operations otherwise necessitates an annual examination (including, for 
example, whether the office generates a significant level of assets 
that are booked elsewhere); and
    (d) The condition of the foreign bank itself gives rise to such a 
need.
    The Agencies will base their determination whether to apply the 18-
month examination cycle to a particular U.S. branch or agency on the 
overall risk assessment for that office. Each Agency retains the 
authority to examine a branch or agency within its jurisdiction as 
frequently as the Agency deems necessary. Thus, for instance, the 
appropriate Agency may determine that changes in the level or direction 
of risk in a branch or agency or in the level of third party 
liabilities may warrant examining the branch or agency before the 
expiration of an 18-month exam cycle.
    The Agencies believe that an extended examination cycle for 
eligible U.S. offices of foreign banks is consistent with principles of 
safety and soundness because it will permit the Agencies to focus their 
resources on those offices that present the most immediate supervisory 
concerns while concomitantly reducing the regulatory burden on smaller 
offices that do not pose a similar level of concern. The Agencies will 
continue to use off-site supervision techniques, including the 
submission of regulatory reports, to monitor the condition and any 
changes in the risk profile of offices scheduled to be examined on the 
extended 18-month examination cycle.

Immediate Effective Date

    The Agencies find good cause for dispensing with the 30-day delayed 
effective date prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 
U.S.C. 551 et seq. The expanded examination cycle was effective upon 
publication of the joint interim rule in August 1998. This joint final 
rule adopts the interim rule with minor changes. While the Agencies 
invited interested parties to comment on the rule at that time, each 
Agency already has implemented the expanded examination cycle. 
Accordingly, depository institutions will not require any additional 
time to adjust their policies or practices in order to comply with the 
joint final rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    A regulatory flexibility analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act is only required when an agency is required to publish a general 
notice of proposed rulemaking for any proposed rule. 5 U.S.C. 603. As 
noted previously, the Agencies have determined that it was not 
necessary to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking for this joint 
final rule. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    Title II of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
of 1996 (SBREFA) 8 provides generally for agencies to report 
rules to Congress and the General Accounting Office (GAO) for review. 
The reporting requirement is triggered when a Federal Agency issues a 
final rule. The Agencies filed the appropriate reports with Congress 
and the GAO as required by SBREFA. The Office of Management and Budget 
has determined that the joint final rule does not constitute a ``major 
rule'' as defined by SBREFA.
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    \8\ Pub. L. 104-121.
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Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.), the Agencies have determined that no collections of 
information pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act are contained in 
this joint final rule.

OCC Executive Order 12866 Statement

    The OCC has determined that this final rule is not a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

OCC Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995 Statement

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, Pub. L. 
104-4, 109 Stat. 48 (March 22, 1995) (Unfunded Mandates Act), requires 
that an agency prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating 
a rule that includes a Federal mandate that may result in the 
expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. If a 
budgetary impact statement is required, section 205 of the Unfunded 
Mandates Act also requires an agency to identify and consider a 
reasonable number of regulatory alternatives before promulgating a 
rule. Because the OCC has determined that this joint final rule will 
not result in expenditures by state, local, and tribal governments, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any 
one year, the OCC has not prepared a budgetary impact statement or 
specifically addressed the regulatory alternatives considered. As 
discussed in the preamble, this joint final rule will have the effect 
of reducing regulatory burden on certain national banks.

[[Page 56952]]

List of Subjects

12 CFR Part 4

    Freedom of information, Organization and functions (Government 
agencies), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

12 CFR Part 211

    Exports, Federal Reserve System, Foreign banking, Holding 
companies, Investments, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

12 CFR Part 347

    Allocated transfer risk reserve, Banks, banking, Bank deposit 
insurance, Bank mergers, Credit, Foreign banking, Foreign branches, 
Foreign investments, Insured branches, International lending, 
International operations, Investments, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 12 CFR Chapter I, Authority 
and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the joint preamble, part 4 of chapter 
I of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 4--ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONS, AVAILABILITY AND RELEASE OF 
INFORMATION, CONTRACTING OUTREACH PROGRAM

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 12 CFR Part 4, which was 
published at 63 FR 46118 on August 28, 1998, is adopted as a final rule 
with the following changes.
    1. The authority citation for part 4 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 12 U.S.C. 93a. Subpart A also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
552; 12 U.S.C. 481, 1820(d), and 3105(c)(1). Subpart B also issued 
under 5 U.S.C. 552; E.O. 12600 (3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 235). Subpart 
C also issued under 5 U.S.C. 301, 552; 12 U.S.C. 481, 482, 1821(o), 
1821(t); 18 U.S.C. 641, 1905, 1906; 31 U.S.C. 9701. Subpart D also 
issued under 12 U.S.C. 1833e.

    2. In Sec. 4.7, paragraphs (b)(1)(iii)(B) and (b)(2) introductory 
text are revised to read as follows:


Sec. 4.7  Frequency of examination of Federal agencies and branches.

* * * * *
    (b) *  *  *
    (1) *  *  *
    (iii) *  *  *
    (B) The branch or agency has maintained on a daily basis, over the 
past three quarters, eligible assets in an amount not less than 108 
percent of the preceding quarter's average third party liabilities 
(determined consistent with applicable federal and state law), and 
sufficient liquidity is currently available to meet its obligations to 
third parties;
* * * * *
    (2) Discretionary standards. In determining whether a Federal 
branch or agency that meets the standards of paragraph (b)(1) of this 
section should not be eligible for an 18-month examination cycle 
pursuant to this paragraph (b), the OCC may consider additional 
factors, including whether:
* * * * *
    Dated: September 17, 1999.
John D. Hawke, Jr.,
Comptroller of the Currency.

Federal Reserve System, 12 CFR Chapter II, Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the joint preamble, the Board amends 
12 CFR Part 211 as follows:

PART 211--INTERNATIONAL BANKING OPERATIONS (REGULATION K)

Subpart B--Foreign Banking Organizations

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 12 CFR Part 211, which was 
published at 63 FR 46118 on August 28, 1998, is adopted as a final rule 
with the following changes.
    1. The authority citation for part 211 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 12 U.S.C. 221 et seq., 1818, 1835a, 1841 et seq., 
3101 et seq., and 3901 et seq.

    2. In Sec. 211.26, paragraphs (c)(2)(i)(C)(2) and (c)(2)(ii) 
introductory text are revised to read as follows:


Sec. 211.26  Examination of offices and affiliates of foreign banks.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (C) * * *
    (2) The branch or agency has maintained on a daily basis, over the 
past three quarters, eligible assets in an amount not less than 108 
percent of the preceding quarter's average third party liabilities 
(determined consistent with applicable federal and state law) and 
sufficient liquidity is currently available to meet its obligations to 
third parties;
* * * * *
    (ii) Discretionary standards. In determining whether a branch or 
agency of a foreign bank that meets the standards of paragraph 
(c)(2)(i) of this section should not be eligible for an 18-month 
examination cycle pursuant to this paragraph (c)(2), the Board may 
consider additional factors, including whether:
* * * * *
    By Order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve 
System, October 12, 1999.
Jennifer J. Johnson,
Secretary of the Board.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 12 CFR Chapter III, Authority 
and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the joint preamble, the Board of 
Directors of the FDIC amends part 347 of chapter III of title 12 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 347--INTERNATIONAL BANKING

    1. The authority citation for part 347 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 12 U.S.C. 1813, 1815, 1817, 1819, 1820, 1828, 3103, 
3104, 3105, 3108; Title IX, Pub. L. No. 98-181, 97 Stat. 1153.

    2. Section 347.214 is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 347.214  Examination of branches of foreign banks.

    (a) Frequency of on-site examination. Each branch or agency of a 
foreign bank shall be examined on-site at least once during each 12-
month period (beginning on the date the most recent examination of the 
office ended) by:
    (1) The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board);
    (2) The FDIC, if an insured branch;
    (3) The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), if the 
branch or agency of the foreign bank is licensed by the Comptroller; or
    (4) The state supervisor, if the office of the foreign bank is 
licensed or chartered by the state.
    (b) 18-month cycle for certain small institutions. (1) Mandatory 
standards. The FDIC may conduct a full-scope, on-site examination at 
least once during each 18-month period, rather than each 12-month 
period as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, if the insured 
branch:
    (i) Has total assets of $250 million or less;
    (ii) Has received a composite ROCA supervisory rating (which rates 
risk management, operational controls, compliance, and asset quality) 
of 1 or 2 at its most recent examination;
    (iii) Satisfies the requirement of either the following paragraph 
(b)(iii)(A) or (B):
    (A) The foreign bank's most recently reported capital adequacy 
position consists of, or is equivalent to, Tier 1 and total risk-based 
capital ratios of at least 6 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on a 
consolidated basis; or

[[Page 56953]]

    (B) The insured branch has maintained on a daily basis, over the 
past three quarters, eligible assets in an amount not less than 108 
percent of the preceding quarter's average third party liabilities 
(determined consistent with applicable federal and state law) and 
sufficient liquidity is currently available to meet its obligations to 
third parties;
    (iv) Is not subject to a formal enforcement action or order by the 
Board, FDIC, or the OCC; and
    (v) Has not experienced a change in control during the preceding 
12-month period in which a full-scope, on-site examination would have 
been required but for this section.
    (2) Discretionary standards. In determining whether an insured 
branch that meets the standards of paragraph (b)(1) of this section 
should not be eligible for an 18-month examination cycle pursuant to 
this paragraph (b), the FDIC may consider additional factors, including 
whether:
    (i) Any of the individual components of the ROCA supervisory rating 
of an insured branch is rated ``3'' or worse;
    (ii) The results of any off-site monitoring indicate a 
deterioration in the condition of the insured branch;
    (iii) The size, relative importance, and role of a particular 
insured branch when reviewed in the context of the foreign bank's 
entire U.S. operations otherwise necessitate an annual examination; and
    (iv) The condition of the parent foreign bank gives rise to such a 
need.
    (c) Authority to conduct more frequent examinations. Nothing in 
paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section limits the authority of the FDIC 
to examine any insured branch as frequently as it deems necessary.

    By order of the Board of Directors.

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 20th day of April, 1999.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Robert E. Feldman,
Executive Secretary.
[FR Doc. 99-27624 Filed 10-21-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-33-P 6210-01-P 6714-01-P



Last Updated 11/17/1999 communications@fdic.gov