November 30, 2018 / 6:10 PM / 14 days ago

U.S. regulator gives banks break on supervision costs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. banks will pay the industry’s top regulator 10 percent less for supervision costs in 2019, saving them more than $90 million, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said on Friday.

Comptroller Joseph Otting, who has sought to cut regulatory costs since taking the reins in November 2017, said in a statement the agency has shown it could operate more effectively and efficiently. The OCC charges a fee to cover day-to-day supervision of national banks, based on a percentage of their total assets, with the largest banks covering most of the agency’s budget.

Otting, who was president of CIT Bank prior to heading the OCC, said in April that banks should expect a lighter regulatory touch under his leadership and called lenders his “customers.”

In 2017, he announced scrapping his predecessor’s plans to move bank examiners out of the large institutions they supervise. The move was intended to ensure regulators remain independent, but Otting said it was not cost effective.

President Donald Trump has promised to eliminate federal rules and consumer protections put in place since a housing crisis rocked the economy a decade ago.

Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Richard Chang

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