On November 12, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published standards governing the use of independent consultants in enforcement actions “involving significant violations of law, fraud, or harm to consumers.”

The standards describe the criteria the OCC will use in determining whether the agency would require a national bank or federal savings association to retain a consultant, as well as the institution’s obligation to exercise due diligence to ensure the consultant has sufficient independence, capacity, resources and expertise. The OCC warned that:

[t]he use of an independent consultant does not absolve bank management or its board of directors of their responsibility for ensuring the bank complies with OCC enforcement actions and takes all necessary actions to correct identified deficiencies. Moreover, an independent consultant is not a substitute for the supervisory judgment of the OCC. The OCC retains responsibility for supervising national banks and federal savings associations, including overseeing and assessing bank’s compliance with an enforcement action.

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