Appeal of Semi-Annual Assessment (Fourth Quarter 2018)

Background

The holding company of a former bank supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) appealed the semi-annual assessment the bank paid prior to its charter termination for the six month period between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018.

Discussion

The appeal asserted that the OCC incorrectly charged the independent trust bank (ITB) assessment because the fee applies when the total amount of fiduciary and related assets is greater than $0 but not more than $1 billion, per OCC Bulletin 2017-60. The appeal contended the bank reported $0 fiduciary and related assets in the most recent call report, preceding the payment date.

The appeal also requested a refund of the general assessment. The appeal acknowledged that the bank reported assets greater than $0 and continued to maintain an OCC charter; however, the termination of the bank’s charter was delayed because of reasons out of its control.

Supervisory Standards

The Ombudsman conducted a comprehensive review of the information and relied on the following supervisory standards:

  • 12 USC 16, "Funding of Office"
  • 12 USC 481, "Appointment of examiners; examination of member banks, State banks, and trust companies; reports"
  • 12 USC 482, "Employees of Office of Comptroller of the Currency; appointment; compensation and benefits"
  • 12 CFR 8, "Assessment of Fees"
  • OCC Bulletin 2017-60, "Calendar Year 2018 Fees and Assessments Structure," December 1, 2017
  • "OCC Notice of Fees: Semiannual Assessment," January 1, 2018
  • "OCC Frequently Asked Questions About the Assessment Process," OCC Website

Conclusion

The Ombudsman rendered an overall split decision regarding the ITB and general assessment charged.

The Ombudsman determined that the OCC will refund the ITB assessment within 30 days of receiving the appeal decision letter because the assessment should not have been charged. The bank did not report any fiduciary and related assets in the most recent call report, preceding the payment date. 12 CFR 8 implements 12 USC 16, 481, 482, and other relevant statues, The Ombudsman concluded that the bank was an independent trust bank, as defined under 12 CFR 8.6(c)(3)(v), and per 12 CFR 8.6(c)(l), the assessment of independent trust banks and independent trust federal savings association includes a fiduciary and related asset component, in addition to the assessment calculated according to section 8.2 of this part. OCC Bulletin 2017-60 provides a fee schedule applicable to independent trust banks for whom the total amount of fiduciary and related assets is over $0 but not over $1 billion. In effect, the OCC Bulletin sets the trust bank assessment owed by an independent trust bank reporting $0 in fiduciary and related assets at $0. Per 12 CFR 8.6(c)(vii), "Fiduciary and related assets are those assets reported on Schedule RC-T of FFIEC Forms 031 and 041, Line 10 (columns A and B) and Line 11 (column B), any successor form issued by the FFIEC, and any other fiduciary and related assets defined in the ‘Notice of Comptroller of the Currency Fees.’" The Ombudsman concluded none of the fees listed on the fee schedule for independent trust banks in OCC Bulletin 2017-60 should apply because the bank reported $0 on Schedule RC-T lines 10 and 11 in the most recent call report, preceding the payment date. As such, the OCC will refund the bank the ITB assessment, as provided under 12 CFR 8.7(b) for requests made for a revised assessment notice or refund of overpayments.

The Ombudsman agreed with charging the bank the general assessment fee because the bank was subject to OCC supervision, and the bank reported assets in the most recent call report, preceding the payment date. 12 CFR 8.2(a)(5) states that each semiannual assessment is based upon the total assets shown in the national bank’s or federal savings association's most recent call report, preceding the payment date. OCC Bulletin 2017-60 provides a general assessment fee schedule for the semi-annual period that is based on the bank’s total balance-sheet assets ranging between over $0 and over $250 billion. Further, each bank or federal savings association subject to the jurisdiction of the OCC on the date of the second or fourth quarterly call report or thrift financial report, as appropriate, required by the OCC under 12 USC 161 and 12 USC 1464(v) is subject to the full assessment for the next six-month period.