Crypto Finally Makes the Cut in OCC’s 2022 Bank Supervision Operating Plan

Though the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has been looking into the crypto industry since at least 2018, this is the first time crypto has been included in the regulator’s annual operating plan.

Oct 15, 2021 at 8:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 15, 2021 at 8:50 p.m. UTC

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released its 2022 Bank Supervision Operating Plan on Friday and for the first time, crypto made the cut.

In its report, the federal banking regulator listed its 11 supervisory priorities for the fiscal year that ends next September, including cybersecurity, climate change and “fintech partnerships for potential cryptocurrency-related activities and other services.”

Though this is the first time the OCC has directly mentioned crypto as a priority, the regulator has been studying crypto for at least three years. Last July, the OCC published an interpretive letter that allowed nationally chartered banks to offer crypto custody services.

Many in the crypto community attributed the OCC’s crypto push to former Comptroller Brian Brooks, who left the OCC in January to briefly serve as CEO of Binance.US.

Michael Hsu, who replaced Brooks as Comptroller in May, signaled greater caution on crypto, telling the House Financial Services Committee that he planned to keep an open mind on crypto but would be reviewing actions taken under Brooks’ leadership to ensure banks remained safe for consumers.

According to the OCC’s latest plan, the regulator will “identify banks that are implementing significant changes in their operations using new technological innovations…[and] evaluate the appropriateness of the governance processes when banks undertake significant changes.”

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Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy.

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