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e-CFR data is current as of September 17, 2020

Title 12Chapter IPart 5Subpart C → §5.31


Title 12: Banks and Banking
PART 5—RULES, POLICIES, AND PROCEDURES FOR CORPORATE ACTIVITIES
Subpart C—Expansion of Activities


§5.31   Establishment, acquisition, and relocation of a branch and establishment of an agency office of a Federal savings association.

(a) Authority. 12 U.S.C. 1462a, 1463, 1464. 2901-2907 and 5412(b)(2)(B).

(b) Licensing requirements. A Federal savings association shall submit an application and obtain prior OCC approval in order to establish or relocate a branch or to establish an agency office or conduct additional activities at an agency office, if required under this section.

(c) Scope—(1) In general. This section describes the procedures and standards governing OCC review and approval of an application by a Federal savings association to establish a new branch or to relocate a branch and the circumstances in which a Federal savings association may establish or relocate a branch without application to the OCC. It also describes the authority of a Federal savings association to establish an agency office.

(2) Branch established through a conversion or business combination. The standards of this section governing review and approval of applications by the OCC, but not the application procedures set forth in this section, apply to branches acquired or retained in a conversion approved under 12 CFR 5.23 or a business combination approved under 12 CFR 5.33. A branch acquired or retained in a conversion or business combination is subject to the application procedures set forth in §5.23 or §5.33.

(3) Branching by savings associations in the District of Columbia. This section also implements section 5(m) of the HOLA, 12 U.S.C. 1464(m), addressing branching by savings associations in the District of Columbia.

(d) Definitions. (1) A branch office of a Federal savings association for purposes of this section is a branch office as defined in 12 CFR 145.92(a).

(2) Home state means the state in which the Federal savings association's home office is located.

(e) Policy. In determining whether to approve an application to establish or relocate a branch, the OCC is guided by the following principles:

(1) Maintaining a safe and sound banking system;

(2) Encouraging a Federal savings association to provide fair access to financial services by helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community;

(3) Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations; and

(4) Promoting fair treatment of customers including efficiency and better service.

(f) Procedures—(1) Application requirements. (i) Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, each Federal savings association proposing to establish or relocate a branch shall submit to the appropriate OCC licensing office a separate application for each proposed branch.

(ii) Authorization. The OCC authorizes operation of the branch when all requirements and conditions for opening are satisfied.

(iii) Expedited review. If an application to establish or relocate a branch is required of an eligible Federal savings association, the application is deemed approved by the OCC as of the 15th day after the close of the applicable public comment period or the 45th day after the filing is received by the OCC, whichever is later, unless the OCC notifies the savings association prior to that date that the filing is not eligible for expedited review, or the expedited review process is extended, under §5.13(a)(2). An application to establish or relocate more than one branch is deemed approved by the OCC as of the 15th day after the close of the last public comment period.

(2) Exceptions. Except as provided in paragraph (j) of this section, a Federal savings association is not required to submit an application and receive OCC approval under the following circumstances:

(i) Drive-in or pedestrian offices. A Federal savings association may establish a drive-in or pedestrian office that is located within 500 feet of a public entrance to its existing home or branch office, provided the functions performed at the office are limited to functions that are ordinarily performed at a teller window.

(ii) Short-distance relocation. A Federal savings association may change the permanent location of an existing branch office to a site that is within the market area and short-distance location area, as defined in §5.3(l).

(iii) Highly rated Federal savings associations. A Federal savings association that is an eligible savings association as defined in §5.3(g) may change the permanent location of, or establish a new, branch office if it meets all of the following requirements:

(A) It published a public notice under §5.8 of its intent to change the location of the branch office or establish a new branch office. The public notice must be published at least 35 days before the proposed action establishment or relocation. If the notice is published more than 12 months before the proposed action, the publication is invalid.

(B) If the Federal savings association intends to change the location of an existing branch office, it must post a notice of its intent in a prominent location in the existing office to be relocated. This notice must be posted for 30 days from the date of publication of the initial public notice described in paragraph (f)(2)(iii)(A) of this section.

(C)(1) No person files a comment opposing the proposed action within 30 days after the date of the publication of the public notice; or

(2) A person files a comment opposing the proposed action and the OCC determines that the comment raises issues that are not relevant to the approval standards for an application for a branch or that OCC action in response to the comment is not required.

(3) Notice of branch opening. If a Federal savings association is not required to file an application to establish or relocate a branch pursuant to paragraph (f)(2)(iii) of this section, the Federal savings association shall file a notice with the OCC with the date the branch was established or relocated and the address of the branch within 10 days after the opening of the branch.

(g) Exceptions to rules of general applicability. (1) The OCC may waive or reduce the public notice and comment period, as appropriate, with respect to an application to establish a branch to restore banking services to a community affected by a disaster or to temporarily replace banking facilities where, because of an emergency, the savings association cannot provide services or must curtail banking services.

(2) The OCC may waive or reduce the public notice and comment period, as appropriate, for an application by a Federal savings association with a CRA rating of Satisfactory or better to establish a temporary branch which, if it were established by a state bank to operate in the manner proposed, would be permissible under state law without state approval.

(h) Expiration of approval. Approval expires if a branch has not commenced business within 18 months after the date of approval unless the OCC grants an extension.

(i) Branch closings. A Federal savings association shall comply with the applicable requirements of 12 U.S.C. 1831r-1 with respect to procedures for branch closings.

(j) Section 5(m) of the HOLA. (1) Under section 5(m)(1) of the HOLA (12 U.S.C. 1464(m)(1)), no savings association may establish or move any branch in the District of Columbia or move its principal office in the District of Columbia without the OCC's prior written approval.

(2) Any Federal savings association that must obtain approval of the OCC under 12 U.S.C. 1464(m)(1) shall follow the application procedures of this section. Any state savings association that must obtain approval of the OCC under 12 U.S.C. 1464(m)(1) shall follow the application procedures of this section as if it were a Federal savings association.

(k) Agency offices—(1) In general. A Federal savings association may establish or maintain an agency office to engage in one or more of the following activities:

(i) Servicing, originating, or approving loans and contracts;

(ii) Managing or selling real estate owned by the Federal savings association; and

(iii) Conducting fiduciary activities or activities ancillary to the association's fiduciary business in compliance with §5.26(e).

(2) Additional services—(i) In general. A Federal savings association may request, and the OCC may approve, any service not listed in paragraph (k)(1) of this section, except for payment on savings accounts.

(ii) Application required. A Federal savings association desiring to engage in such additional services shall submit an application to the appropriate OCC licensing office.

(iii) Exceptions to rules of general applicability. Sections 5.8, 5.10, and 5.11 do not apply to filings under this paragraph (k)(2). However, if the OCC concludes that an application presents significant or novel policy, supervisory, or legal issues, the OCC may determine that some or all provisions in §§5.8, 5.10, and 5.11 apply.

(3) Records. A Federal savings association must maintain records of all business it transacts at an agency office. It must maintain these records at the agency office, and must transmit copies to a home or branch office.

[80 FR 28436, May 18, 2015]

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