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Bank Appeals Process

Because questions and disagreements can arise from bank examinations, the OCC’s Bank Appeals Process provides an independent avenue for appealing certain supervisory actions. We encourage banks to first attempt to resolve disagreements through informal discussions with their immediate supervisory office or the OCC Ombudsman.

How can my bank file an appeal?

You may seek review of matters that qualify for appeal by submitting a written description of the matter(s) under dispute to either the OCC ombudsman or your immediate supervisory office. Your president or chief executive office must submit the appeal and indicate your board's approval of the action.

What matters qualify for an appeal?

Your bank may seek review of any agency decision or action, including

  • Examination ratings,
  • Adequacy of loan loss reserve provisions, and
  • Classifications of loans significant to your bank.

Are there any matters that don't qualify for an appeal?

Yes. Matters that do not qualify for appeal include

  • Appointment of receivers and conservators;
  • Preliminary examination conclusions;
  • Any formal enforcement-related actions or decisions, including decisions to
    • Seek issuance of a formal agreement or cease and desist order, or the assessment of a civil money penalty;
    • Take prompt corrective action;
    • Issue a safety and soundness order; and
    • Commence formal investigations;
  • Formal and informal rulemakings;
  • Decisions or recommended decision following formal and informal adjudications;
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests;
  • Decisions made to disapprove directors and senior executive officers pursuant to Section 914 of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA); and
  • Any other agency decisions that are subject to judicial review.

What happens after my bank files an appeal with the OCC?

The ombudsman will

  • Request documents pertaining to the appeal from OCC management officials,
  • Request a meeting if necessary to gather more information,
  • Issue a written response within 45 calendar days of accepting your appeal (absent extenuating circumstances), and
  • Contact your bank during the follow-up procedure to determine if you believe OCC examiners have taken actions in retaliation for your appeal.

Must my bank adhere to supervisory decisions and actions during the appeals process?

Yes. However, when appropriate, the ombudsman or appropriate OCC official may relieve your bank from compliance pending a decision.

What is the authority of OCC's ombudsman?

The OCC ombudsman functions outside the bank supervision area and reports directly to the Comptroller, who grants the ombudsman the authority to

  • Stay any appealable agency decision or action in the resolution of a matter that qualifies for an appeal,
  • Report weaknesses in OCC policy to the Comptroller, and
  • Make recommendations regarding changes in OCC policy.

Where can I obtain more information?

  • OCC Bulletin 2013-15 ("Guidance for Bankers: Bank Appeals Process," June 7, 2013) - Describes the OCC's policy regarding its appeal process.
  • Bank Appeals Process Brochure - Describes the appeals process for bankers and national bank examiners.


Larry L. Hattix, Senior Deputy Comptroller for Enterprise Governance and Ombudsman
400 7th Street, SW
MS 10E - 12
Washington, DC 20219
Telephone: (202) 649-5530
Fax: (202) 649-5727