News Release 2013-14 | January 23, 2013

Comptroller Curry to Meet with Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards

WASHINGTON—Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry will appear Thursday before a public session of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards to discuss the OCC's approach to ensuring accountability of independent directors at federal banks and thrifts.

The session, which will be held in London, is part of the Commission's ongoing inquiry into the U.K. banking system. Established last year at the request of the leaders of Parliament's three major parties by the passing of motions in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Commission was tasked with reporting on:

  • Professional standards and culture of the U.K. banking sector, taking account of regulatory and competition investigations into the LIBOR rate-setting process; and
  • Lessons to be learned about corporate governance, transparency and conflicts of interest, and their implications for regulation and for Government policy.

"The OCC believes independent directors play a vital role in the governance of federal banks and thrifts, and we have spent a great deal of time developing programs aimed at educating directors at banks of all sizes on their roles and responsibilities," Mr. Curry said. "With respect to our 19 largest banks, we have raised our expectations for internal audit and risk management functions in a very significant way, and independent directors at these institutions play a major role in ensuring that these standards are met."

The Comptroller noted that regulators around the world are continuing to work on rules aimed at ensuring that financial institutions operate in a safe and sound manner. "I'm pleased to have this opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the Parliamentary Commission on a subject that is extremely important to the OCC. I hope that the U.S. experience provides some assistance to Parliament as it considers changes to the U.K. System."

Mr. Curry will also address a conference next week sponsored by Bank Director magazine, and will focus in part on the essential role independent directors play at community banks.

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