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February 10, 2014

Comptroller Rethinks Use of Bank Examiners

“WASHINGTON—A top U.S. banking regulator is considering a radical departure from the postcrisis approach to bank supervision: fewer examiners on site at big Wall Street firms.

“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, criticized along with other regulators for failing to spot precrisis problems on Wall Street, is considering paring back the number of examiners it stations inside big banks as it looks to sharpen its risk-spotting abilities. The OCC, which supervises large national banks, launched a formal review late last month and is expected to make a decision within several months.

“The rethink shows how Washington continues to wrestle with how best to prevent problems—like J.P. Morgan & Co.’s $6 billion “London whale” trading loss—from going undetected

“In some cases, regulators have placed more examiners inside banks. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has roughly doubled its supervision staff for individual banks since the crisis to a range of between 15 and 40 overseeing the largest bank holding companies. The OCC, which oversees banks with national branch networks such as J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo & Co., has increased its team of large bank examiners by about 20% since 2007, with as many as 60 staffers at the largest U.S. institutions.”

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here

 
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