STATEMENT: OCC’s New Rule Is an Abuse of Power Designed To Benefit the Fossil Fuel Industry

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) proposed a rule designed to prevent banks from cutting off funding to the fossil fuel industry. Gregg Gelzinis, senior policy analyst for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in response:

This proposal is a dangerous last gasp from a regulator who is desperately trying to satisfy President Donald Trump and fossil fuel-backed members of Congress. Banks have decided against financing Arctic drilling projects due to the significant credit, operational, and reputational risks associated with them. It is an abuse of power for the comptroller to use a radical interpretation of its authorizing statute to force banks to fund these and other risky projects for the president’s allies. The OCC didn’t care about combating discrimination when it gutted the Community Reinvestment Act, but apparently faux discrimination against the fossil fuel industry is a top priority.

The OCC should be integrating climate-related risks into its bank regulation and supervision framework, which would prudently shift banks away from highly risky fossil fuel investments. By doing the exact opposite, the OCC is violating its core mission to promote the safety and soundness of the banking system. It would be reckless to finalize this rule.

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