American Financial Services Association

AFSA Submits Comment Letter to OCC on Fair Access to Financial Services Proposed Rule

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AFSA Submits Comment Letter to OCC on Fair Access to Financial Services Proposed Rule

On January 4, 2021, AFSA submitted a comment letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regarding its proposed rule on Fair Access to Financial Services.  This proposal reiterates that banks operating under the OCC’s governance should offer financial products and services to customers based on individualized risk assessments rather than based on whether the customer falls in particular category of customers.  The proposed rule is specifically aimed at preventing banks from denying services to customers based on the banks’ preference to avoid offering services to customers engaged in controversial industries.

The AFSA comment letter applauds the OCC for working to support fair access to financial services unimpeded by political or other biases.  There may be some instances, however, when a bank should be allowed to make a quicker determination about the products or services it can offer a customer based on the customer’s business.  AFSA encouraged the OCC to consider whether an entirely new risk assessment is necessary for each new customer, or whether a bank can be allowed to decline services to customers whose characteristics are outside the bank’s risk tolerance based on an abbreviated review.  The comment letter also seek clarification on the proposed rule’s reference to providing financial services on “proportionally equal terms.”  This proposal will hopefully help financial institutions serve customers with greater clarity and objectivity.

January 4th, 2021 by