[Federal Register: January 21, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 13)]
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
12 CFR Chap. I
[Docket No. 004-05]
BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
12 CFR Chap. II
[Docket No. R-1180]
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION
12 CFR Chap. III
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
Office of Thrift Supervision
12 CFR Chap. V
Request for Burden Reduction Recommendations; Consumer
Protection: Lending-Related Rules; Economic Growth and
Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 Review
AGENCIES: Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency (OCC), Treasury; Board of Governors of the Federal
Reserve System (Board); Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC); and Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS),
ACTION: Notice of regulatory review; request for
SUMMARY: The OCC, Board, FDIC, and OTS ("we" or "the
Agencies") are reviewing our regulations to identify
outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulatory
requirements pursuant to the Economic Growth and Regulatory
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996 (EGRPRA). Today, we request
your comments and suggestions on ways to reduce burden in
rules we have categorized as Consumer Protection:
Lending-Related Rules, consistent with our statutory
obligations. All comments are welcome. We specifically
invite comment on the following issues: whether statutory
changes are needed; whether the regulations contain
requirements that are not needed to serve the purposes of
the statutes they implement; the extent to which the
regulations may adversely affect competition; the cost of
compliance associated with reporting, recordkeeping, and
disclosure requirements, particularly on small institutions;
whether any regulatory requirements are inconsistent or
redundant; and whether any regulations are unclear.
We will analyze the comments received and propose burden
reducing changes to our regulations where appropriate. Some
of your suggestions for burden reduction might require
legislative changes. Where legislative changes would be
required, we will consider your suggestions in recommending
appropriate changes to the Congress.
DATES: Written comments must be received no later
than April 20, 2004.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the
EGRPRA Web site: http://www.EGRPRA.gov.
Comments submitted at the Agencies' joint Web site will
automatically be distributed to all the Agencies upon
receipt. Comments received at the EGRPRA Web site and by
other means will be posted on the Web site to the extent
Individual agency addresses: You are also welcome to
submit comments to the Agencies at the following contact
points (due to delays in paper mail delivery in the
Washington area, commenters may prefer to submit their
comments by alternative means):
OCC: You may submit comments, identified by Docket
Number 04-05, by any of the following methods:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include Docket Number
04-05 in the subject line of the message.
Mail: Public Information Room, Office of
the Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E Street, SW., Mailstop
1-5, Washington, DC 20219.
Public Inspection: You may
inspect and photocopy comments at the Public Information
Room. You can make an appointment to inspect the comments by
calling (202) 874-5043.
Board: You may submit comments, identified by
Docket Number R-1180, by any of the following methods:
E-mail: email@example.com. Include Docket
Number R-1180, in the subject line of the message.
Mail: Ms. Jennifer J. Johnson, Secretary, Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20551.
Fax: (202) 452-3819 or (202) 452-3102.
Public Inspection: You may inspect and photocopy
comments in Room MP-500 of the Martin Building between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays in accordance with the Board's
Rules Regarding Availability of Information, 12 CFR part
FDIC: You may submit comments, identified as
EGRPRA burden reduction comments, by any of the following
Include "EGRPRA burden reduction comment" in the
subject line of the message.
Mail: Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street, NW.,
Washington, DC 20429.
Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand delivered to the
guard station at the rear of the 550 17th Street Building
(located on F Street) on business days between 7 a.m. and
Public Inspection: You may inspect comments at the
FDIC Public Information Center, Room 100, 801 17th Street,
NW., between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on business days.
OTS: You may submit comments, identified by "No.
2003-67," by any of the following methods:
firstname.lastname@example.org Include "No. 2003-67" in the
subject line of the message, and provide your name and
Fax: (202) 906-6518.
Regulation Comments, Chief Counsel's Office, Office of
Thrift Supervision, 1700 G Street, NW., Washington, DC
Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand delivered
to the Guard's Desk, East Lobby Entrance, 1700 G Street,
NW., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on business days, Attention:
Regulation Comments, Chief Counsel's Office. Public
Inspection: OTS will post comments and the related index on
the OTS Internet Site at www.ots.treas.gov
addition, you may inspect comments at the Public Reading
Room, 1700 G Street, NW., by appointment. To make an
appointment for access, call (202) 906-5922, send an e-mail
or send a fax to (202)
906-7755. (Please identify the material you would like to
inspect to assist us in serving you.)
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mark Tenhundfeld, Assistant Director,
Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, (202)
Lee Walzer, Counsel, Legislative and
Regulatory Activities Division, (202) 874-5090.
Patricia A. Robinson, Managing
Senior Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 452-3005.
Michael J. O'Rourke, Counsel, Legal Division, (202)
John C. Wood, Counsel, Division of Consumer and
Community Affairs, (202) 452-2412.
Supervisory Financial Analyst, Division of Banking
Supervision and Regulation, (202) 452-5259.
For users of Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD)
only, contact (202) 263-4869.
Claude A. Rollin, Special Assistant to
the Vice Chairman, (202) 898-8741.
Steven D. Fritts, Associate Director, Division of
Supervision and Consumer Protection, (202) 898-3723.
Ruth R. Amberg, Senior Counsel, Legal Division, (202)
Thomas Nixon, Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 898-8766.
Special Counsel, Regulations and Legislation Division, Chief
Counsel's Office, (202) 906-6639.
The Agencies are asking for your comments and suggestions
on ways in which the Agencies can reduce regulatory burdens
consistent with our statutory obligations. Today, we request
your input to help us identify which Consumer Protection
Lending-Related rules are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly
burdensome. The rules in this category are listed in a chart
at the end of this notice. Please send us your
recommendations at our Web site,
or to one of the listed addresses.
The rest of this notice will discuss the essential
elements of our EGRPRA review project, some suggestions we
received on carrying it out, and today's request for
II. Agencies' Proposed and Current Plan
A. The EGRPRA Review Requirements and the Agencies'
This current request for comment is part of the review
required by section 2222 of EGRPRA.
2 We described
the EGRPRA review's requirements in our initial notice of
the EGRPRA project published in the June 16, 2003, Federal
As part of our review, we ask for
comments not only on burden imposed by individual regulatory
requirements, but also on the cumulative effect of the
The EGRPRA review required us to categorize our rules by
type. Our June 16, 2003 Federal Register publication placed
our rules into 12 categories. The categories are:
1. Applications and Reporting;
2. Banking Operations;
4. Community Reinvestment Act;
5. Consumer Protection;
6. Directors, Officers and Employees;
7. International Operations;
8. Money Laundering;
9. Powers and Activities;
10. Rules of Procedure;
11. Safety and Soundness;
To spread the work of commenting on and reviewing the
categories of rules over a reasonable period of time, we
proposed to publish one or more categories of rules
approximately every six months between 2003 and 2006 and
provide a 90-day comment period for each publication. We
asked for comment on all aspects of our plan, including: the
categories, the rules in each category, and the order in
which we should review the categories. Because the Agencies
were eager to begin reducing unnecessary burden where
appropriate, our initial notice also published three
categories of rules for comment (Applications and Reporting,
Powers and Activities, and International Operations). All
our covered categories of rules must be published for
comment and reviewed by the end of September, 2006.
The EGRPRA review then requires the Agencies to: (1)
Publish a summary of the comments we received, identifying
and discussing the significant issues raised in them; and
(2) eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements. Within 30
days after the Agencies publish the comment summary and
discussion, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination
Council (FFIEC), which is the formal interagency body to
which the Agencies belong, must submit a report to the
Congress. This report will summarize significant issues
raised by the public comments and the relative merits of
those issues. It will also analyze whether the appropriate
Federal banking agency can address the burdens by
regulation, or whether they must be addressed by
B. Public Response and the Agencies' Current Plan
We received 19 comments in response to the first notice.
You can view the comments at our EGRPRA Web site by clicking
on "Comments." In addition to soliciting written
comments in 2003, we held banker outreach meetings in
Orlando, St. Louis, Denver, San Francisco, and New York City
in order to hear directly from the industry about ways the
Agencies could reduce regulatory burden. More than 250
representatives from the industry attended the outreach
meetings. These meetings have given us valuable insights and
have helped focus our regulatory burden reduction efforts.
We anticipate holding additional outreach events in 2004. We
also will be taking into account the important views of
consumer and community organizations when we meet with them.
You can view descriptions of the meetings and related
recommendations at our EGRPRA Web site by clicking on
``Events'' and then choosing a meeting by its location.
The Agencies appreciate the response to our notice and
the outreach meetings. The written comments and remarks at
the meetings came from individuals, banks, savings
associations, holding companies, and industry trade groups.
We are actively reviewing the feedback received about
specific ways to reduce regulatory burden, as well as
conducting our own analyses. Because the main purpose of
this notice is to request comment on the next category of
regulations, we will not discuss specific recommendations
about the first set of regulation categories here. However,
as we develop initiatives to reduce burden in the
future--whether through regulatory, legislative, or other
channels `` we will discuss the public's recommendations
that relate to our proposed actions.
We requested comment about our proposed categories and
placement of the rules within each category. Industry trade
groups and others observed that commenting on all consumer
protection regulations at one time would be burdensome in
itself and suggested that we might receive more useful
feedback if the category was divided. As a result, we
divided the consumer protection regulations into two
categories: (1) Lending-Related Rules, and (2)
Account--Deposit Relationships and Miscellaneous Consumer
Rules. The regulations in the Lending-Related Rules category
are listed in the chart below. The Account--Deposit
Relationships and Miscellaneous Consumer Rules category will
contain the remaining rules previously identified in the
Consumer Protection category. We plan to request comment on
the Account--Deposit Relationships and Miscellaneous
Consumer Rules in the next notice.
We also requested comment about the order in which we
should review the categories. According to some industry
representatives, the requirements imposed by the Consumer
Protection regulations are among the most burdensome. Given
this response, we will focus on those rules first.
III. Request for Comment on Consumer Protection:
Lending--Related Rules Category
Today, we are asking the public to identify the ways in
which the Consumer Protection: Lending-Related Rules may be
outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. As noted, the
rules in this category are listed in the chart below. We
encourage comments that address not only individual rules or
requirements but also pertain to certain product lines. For
example, in the case of a particular loan, are any
disclosure requirements under one regulation inconsistent
with or duplicative of requirements under another
regulation? Are there unnecessary records that must be kept?
A product line approach is consistent with EGRPRA's focus on
how rules interact, and may be especially helpful in
exposing redundant or potentially inconsistent regulatory
requirements. We recognize that commenters using a product
line approach may want to make recommendations about rules
that are not in our current request for comment. They should
do so since the EGRPRA categories are designed to stimulate
creative approaches rather than limiting them.
Specific issues to consider. While all comments are
welcome, we specifically invite comment on the following
A. Need for statutory change. (1) Do any statutory
requirements underlying the rules impose unnecessary,
redundant, conflicting or unduly burdensome requirements?
(2) Are there less burdensome alternatives?
B. Need and purpose of the regulations. (1) Are the
regulations consistent with the purposes of the statutes
that they implement? (2) Have circumstances changed so that
a rule is no longer necessary? (3) Do changes in the
financial products and services offered to consumers suggest
a need to revise certain regulations (or statutes)? (4) Do
any of the regulations impose compliance burdens not
required by the statutes they implement?
C. General approach/flexibility. (1) Would a different
general approach to regulating achieve statutory goals with
less burden? (2) Do any of these rules impose unnecessarily
D. Effect of the regulations on competition. Do any of
the regulations or statutes create competitive disadvantages
for insured depository institutions compared to the rest of
the financial services industry or competitive disadvantages
for one type of insured depository institution over another?
E. Reporting, recordkeeping and disclosure requirements.
(1) Which reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure
requirements impose the most compliance burdens? (2) Are any
of the reporting or recordkeeping requirements unnecessary
to demonstrate compliance with the law?
F. Consistency and redundancy. (1) Are any of the
requirements under one regulation inconsistent with or
duplicative of requirements under another regulation? (2) If
so, are the inconsistencies not warranted by the purposes of
G. Clarity. Are any of the regulations drafted unclearly?
H. Burden on small insured institutions. We have
particular interest in minimizing burden on small insured
institutions (those with assets of $150 million or less).
How could these rules be amended to minimize adverse
economic impact on small insured institutions? The Agencies
appreciate the efforts of all interested parties to help us
eliminate outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome
Rules for Which Comment Is Requested Now
[Consumer Protection: Lending-Related Rules Category]
Dated: January 14, 2004.
John D. Hawke, Jr.
Comptroller of the Currency.
By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve
System on January 7, 2004.
Jennifer J. Johnson,
Secretary of the Board.
By order of the Board of Directors, Federal Deposit
Dated at Washington, DC, this 2nd day of December, 2003.
Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
Dated: December 17, 2003.
By the Office of Thrift Supervision.
Richard M. Riccobono,
1The National Credit Union Administration has
participated in planning the EGRPRA review but has issued,
and will issue, requests for comment separately.
2 Public Law 104-208, Sept. 30, 1996, 12 U.S.C.
3 The citation for our first Federal Register
notice is 68 FR 35589. You can view it at our Web site
http://www.EGRPRA.gov by clicking on "Federal Register
4 Foreign banking organizations that conduct
banking operations in the U.S., either directly through
branches and agencies or indirectly through U.S. bank
subsidiaries or commercial lending company subsidiaries,
generally are subject to the same regulatory regime as
domestic bank holding companies