Today, the OCC released an interpretive letter concluding that national banks and federal savings associations (together, “banks”) may permissibly provide cryptocurrency custody services for customers.  The letter, written by Chief Counsel Jonathan Gould, describes custody of cryptocurrency as a modern form of the traditional banking activity of providing safekeeping and custody services, which the agency has previously permitted banks to conduct through electronic means.  The letter also “reaffirms the OCC’s position that national banks may provide permissible banking services to any lawful business they choose, including cryptocurrency businesses, so long as they effectively manage the risks and comply with applicable law.”

Continue Reading OCC Interpretation Paves Way for Banks to Custody Cryptocurrency

Yesterday, March 31, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Board”) announced a six-month delay in the effective date of its final rule implementing a revised control framework.  Previously, in January, the Board unanimously approved a final rule establishing a comprehensive, simplified framework for determining when an investor company exhibits control

The partial federal government shutdown could affect the timing of processing of certain new merger and acquisition applications by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Board”).

Pursuant to special procedures outlined in a December 2018 notice, the Office of the Federal Register is not publishing documents during the partial government shutdown except where necessary to safeguard human life, protect property, or provide other emergency services consistent with the performance of functions and services exempted under the Antideficiency Act.  Exempt functions and services include activities related to the supervision of the stock markets and commodities and futures exchanges, but not other normal and routine activities of the federal banking regulators.

Continue Reading Government Shutdown Could Affect Federal Reserve Processing of M&A Applications

On November 30, 2018, the Federal Reserve requested comments on a new application form—the FR LL-10(e)—for savings and loan holding companies (“SLHCs”). The new form would replace Form H-(e), which was inherited from the Office of Thrift Supervision when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act transferred supervisory authority for SHLCs

On September 10, 2018, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) released a proposed rule to implement section 206 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, codified in section 5A of the Home Owners’ Loan Act (“HOLA”).  Section 5A permits a federal savings association with total consolidated assets of $20 billion or less as of December 31, 2017, to elect to operate as a “covered savings association.”  A covered savings association would have the same rights and privileges as a national bank that has its main office situated in the same location as the home office of the covered savings association, and would be subject to the same duties, restrictions, penalties, liabilities, conditions, and limitations that would apply to such a national bank.  Under the terms of the statute, however, a covered savings association would still be treated as a federal savings association for certain purposes, including governance, dividends, and mergers.

Continue Reading OCC Releases Proposal to Allow Federal Savings Associations to Exercise National Bank Powers