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NR 2005-119
Contact: Kevin Mukri
(202) 874-4700

OCC To Expand Customer Assistance Group Telephone Hours

WASHINGTON --The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said today it is taking steps to significantly increase the hours its Customer Assistance Group is open to receive calls from consumers.

"The OCC's Customer Assistance Group has been a tremendous success in helping national bank customers with questions or problems," said Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan. ;"I'm very pleased that we have found a flexible and efficient way to expand the hours that consumers can reach us by telephone."

"By taking advantage of domestic private sector resources, we will be able to expand telephone hours to better serve all consumers, especially those on the west coast," Ombudsman Samuel P. Golden said. "It is our goal to expand telephone coverage to 12 hours a day from the current seven," said Mr. Golden, who oversees the OCC's consumer assistance facility.

Mr. Golden said that the OCC issued a Statement of Objectives yesterday to begin the process of seeking private-sector support for the OCC’s consumer facility. The vendor will handle routine matters, such as providing materials to satisfy non-complex questions, obtaining information from callers that is necessary to open a case file, routing the caller to the appropriate OCC specialist and providing the status of an open case. In addition, the OCC receives a number of calls that pertain to institutions not regulated by the OCC, and the vendor’s employees will be able to direct those callers to the appropriate regulatory agency.

"Consumers with questions or concerns about a national bank will still talk to one of our trained OCC professionals" Mr. Golden said. "But the vendor support will greatly increase the efficiency of the process and will help us leverage the skills of our staff and improve the overall quality and level of customer service."

Many governmental and private sector organizations successfully use third-party vendors to support their call centers, Mr. Golden said. The company selected will be a domestic concern that will support the OCC from a U.S.-based call center, he said.

Mr. Golden said the vendor selected by the OCC will receive extensive training to ensure that the agency’s current high standards of customer assistance continue.

"The contract will also give the Customer Assistance Group the ability to quickly expand telephone operating hours in the event of an emergency, such as Hurricane Katrina," Mr. Golden added.

The Customer Assistance Group plans to begin expanding telephone hours of operation after vendor selection and training is completed.

Consumers will continue to be able to select from a number of options to contact a Customer Assistance Specialist.These include:

PHONE: 1-800-613-6743

FAX: 713-336-4301

E-MAIL: Customer.Assistance@occ.treas.gov

MAIL:Customer Assistance Group

1301 McKinney Street
Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77010

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