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OCC Reports Key Risks, Effects of COVID-19 in Federal Banking System

November 09, 2020 / Source: OCC

News Release 2020-147 | November 9, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today reported the key issues facing the federal banking system and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the federal banking industry in its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Fall 2020.

Banks remain in strong financial condition but profitability is stressed due to low interest rates and increasing levels of provisions for problem loans. The OCC reported credit, strategic, operational, and compliance risks, among the key risk themes in the report.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Credit risk is increasing as the economic downturn impacts customer ability to service debts.
  • Strategic risk is an emerging issue due to the historically low rate environment, potential credit stress and their effect on bank profitability.
  • Operational risk is elevated as financial institutions respond to altered work environments and an evolving and complex operating environment. Cybersecurity threats contribute as a key driver of the heightened operational risk environment.
  • Compliance risk is elevated due to a combination of altered work environments, and the requirement to quickly operationalize federal, state, and proprietary programs designed to support businesses and consumers. 

The report also highlights emerging trends in payment products and services as a special topic in emerging risks.

The report covers risks facing national banks and federal savings associations based on data as of June 30, 2020. The report presents information in four main areas: the operating environment, bank performance, special topics in emerging risk, and trends in key risks. It focuses on issues that pose threats to those financial institutions regulated by the OCC and is intended as a resource to the industry, examiners, and the public.

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