On October 29, Comptroller Thomas Curry of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) delivered remarks at the Risk Management Association’s Annual Risk Management Conference in Dallas, Texas, providing insight into the OCC’s perspective on emerging risks to the US banking system.

In describing channels from which the OCC collects information on emerging risks relative to commercial banks and thrifts, Curry noted that useful information is obtained from industry meetings, field examiner reports and OCC employees responsible for monitoring markets and macro trends.

With respect to the OCC’s current areas of concern relative to risk management, Curry identified the following issues: (1) earnings challenges in an environment of slow growth and volatile financial markets; (2) mortgage lending, including home equity lines of credit; and (3) the “search for greater profitability in an uncertain environment.” With respect to this final issue, Curry also noted that the desire for profitability will sometimes cause institutions to engage in activities that provide a “short-term boost” at the expense of safety and soundness.

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