WASHINGTON — Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu today shared the following statement with agency staff at the conclusion of his first day in this role.
It is a tremendous honor to serve as Acting Comptroller of the Currency and to work with you who ensure that our federal banking system operates in a safe, sound, and fair manner. I appreciate the confidence Secretary Yellen has shown in me by appointing me to this important post. I am looking forward to building on the agency’s long history and rich heritage. My focus as Acting Comptroller will be on solving urgent problems and addressing pressing issues until the 32nd Comptroller is confirmed.
Like most of you, I am a career public servant and a bank supervisor at my core. My experiences at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Treasury Department, International Monetary Fund, and the Federal Reserve over the past 19 years have spanned periods of growth, crisis, reform, and recovery. What I love most about bank supervision is that it is dynamic: curiosity, collaboration, and problem solving are valued and key to being effective as things change.
My top priority, as we await nomination and confirmation of the 32nd Comptroller, is to focus on what we do best: addressing urgent issues related to our mission to ensure a safe, sound, and fair banking system. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities, especially communities of color and rural communities, and the recovery threatens to leave many of them even further behind. Climate change poses new risks and challenges for banks, and we need to make sure they understand those risks and are capable of managing them. Technological change and digitalization have accelerated and are changing how people and businesses bank. And complacency about risk-taking is of increasing supervisory concern as we enter a phase of growth and heightened competition. In my discussions with you, I hope to learn about similarly urgent matters requiring agency attention and what we can do to address them.
I am excited to get to know you to help maintain the excellent work of the agency and build on it. The 1,200 national banks and federal savings associations that the OCC supervises are facing more change now than at any point in recent memory—from the largest universals to the midsize and community banks, which play such an important role in supporting local communities. The OCC has a well-earned reputation for having strong examiners, an excellent policy shop, and sharp lawyers, supported by a team of dedicated professionals who enable effective operations. We are going to need to build off of that to adapt to today’s challenges and a rapidly changing environment. I hope to learn more as I engage with each department to understand how leadership can help you be even more effective and agile in what you do every day.
Finally, I will be announcing a review of key regulatory standards, as well as various matters that are pending before the agency. The review will take into account a full range of views, both external and internal. I want to make sure that we distinguish the forest from the trees, that changed circumstances due to the pandemic are considered, and that all alternatives are evaluated.
I want to express my gratitude to Blake Paulson for his steady leadership as Acting Comptroller since January 14 and for his long and distinguished service with the agency. I am looking forward to working with him as Chief Operating Officer.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. I hope to meet as many of you as possible in the coming weeks and months. To support that goal, we will schedule a town hall call soon, which will give us a chance to interact and for me to answer questions. Look for details on that call soon.