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Big Banks

Sales Practices a Key Risk to Banking System - OCC

January 5, 2017

[Photo:  by Tim Parkinson / Flickr]


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency views "governance over [bank] sales practices as a key risk issue" in light of Wells Fargo's phony account scandal. This is the first time the OCC has deemed sales practices a key threat, putting them on the same level as hacking, low reserves, and a gathering storm of credit risk from significant growth in loans and deteriorating lending standards. The OCC further called for a wide-sweeping review of large and mid-sized institutions.


The office, along with other regulators, has been looking at bank sales practices since it penalized Wells Fargo in September for $185 million for years of allegedly opening ghost credit-card and bank accounts in customers' names or convincing customers to add unnecessary accounts.


On a call with reporters, Comptroller Thomas Curry said the review continues, but declined to provide details and said he could not give a public assessment on individual banks or the sector as a whole. The OCC is currently looking at how the banks it has selected for review - large and midsized banks - handle their sales practices and then will expand its work in the near future based on the findings, he said.


The OCC said it expects to continue to see mergers and acquisitions among banks, which could pose risks to banks' ability to manage information systems and platforms and controls.