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January 14, 2021

OCC’s Fair Access Rule Increases Risk, Threatens Consumers and Ignores Comments Opposing the Rule


Thursday January 14, 2021

Contact: Pamela Russell at 202-618-6433 or


OCC Finalizes “Fair Access” Rule that Increases Risk, Threatens

Consumers and Ignores Thousands of Comments Opposing the Rule


Washington, D.C.  –  Stephen W. Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist, issued the following statement in response to the OCC’s finalizing its so-called Fair Access to Financial Services rule, which would in effect force banks to make loans to fossil fuel companies, predatory lenders and other industries. The rule is scheduled to go into effect on April 1.

“Earlier today, the OCC finalized a poorly crafted and harmful rule that, if allowed to stand, will undermine the safety and soundness of banks and facilitate consumer abuses. As explained in the two comment letters we joined, the rule will essentially require banks to lend to risky and predatory industries—from oil companies that contribute to climate change to payday lenders that exploit consumers, especially in minority communities. That all conflicts with the OCC’s mission of ensuring the safety and soundness of the banking system and protecting consumers from abusive lending practices.

“The OCC also rushed the process, finalizing the rule in just eight days despite receiving more than 31,000 comments opposing the rule. The OCC could not possibly have carefully considered that input before pushing out the rule as they were required to do under the Administrative Procedure Act.

“The OCC obviously had no intention of ever taking public comments into account in this rulemaking, which had strong and broad opposition. This is simply a frantic, pre-determined effort to rush through this politically motivated proposal before the Trump administration comes to an end.

“The Biden administration should move immediately to stop this misguided rule from taking effect.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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