skip to main navigation skip to secondary navigation skip to content
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
skip to content
Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Federal Reserve Act


Section 21. Bank Examinations

Amendment of section 5240, Revised Statutes

Section fifty-two hundred and forty, United States Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

Back to Top

1. Examination of national banks and affiliates of national banks

The Comptroller of the Currency, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, shall appoint examiners who shall examine every national bank as often as the Comptroller of the Currency shall deem necessary. The examiner making the examination of any national bank shall have power to make a thorough examination of all the affairs of the bank and in doing so he shall have power to administer oaths and to examine any of the officers and agents thereof under oath and shall make a full and detailed report of the condition of said bank to the Comptroller of the Currency. Provided, That in making the examination of any national bank the examiners shall include such an examination of the affairs of all its affiliates other than member banks as shall be necessary to disclose fully the relations between such bank and such affiliates and the effect of such relations upon the affairs of such bank; and in the event of the refusal to give any information required in the course of the examination of any such affiliate, or in the event of the refusal to permit such examination, all the rights, privileges, and franchises of the bank shall be subject to forfeiture in accordance with section 2 of the Federal Reserve Act, as amended (U.S.C., title 12, secs. 141, 222-225, 281-286, and 502). The Comptroller of the Currency shall have power, and he is hereby authorized, to publish the report of his examination of any national banking association or affiliate which shall not within one hundred and twenty days after notification of the recommendations or suggestions of the Comptroller, based on said examination, have complied with the same to his satisfaction. Ninety days' notice prior to such publicity shall be given to the bank or affiliate.

[12 USC 481; Revised Statutes § 5240, ¶ 1. As amended by acts of June 16, 1933 (48 Stat. 192); April 30, 1956 (70 Stat. 124); and March 31, 1980 (94 Stat. 188).]

Back to Top

2. Powers in examining affiliates; expenses of examinations

The examiner making the examination of any affiliate of a national bank shall have power to make a thorough examination of all the affairs of the affiliate, and in doing so he shall have power to administer oaths and to examine any of the officers, directors, employees, and agents thereof under oath and to make a report of his findings to the Comptroller of the Currency. If any affiliate of a national bank refuses to pay any assessments, fees, or other charges imposed by the Comptroller of the Currency pursuant to this section or fails to make such payment not later than 60 days after the date on which they are imposed, the Comptroller of the Currency may impose such assessments, fees, or charges against the affiliated national bank, and such assessments, fees, or charges shall be paid by such national bank. If the affiliation is with 2 or more national banks, such assessments, fees, or charges may be imposed on, and collected from, any or all of such national banks in such proportions as the Comptroller of the Currency may prescribe. The examiners and assistant examiners making the examinations of national banking associations and affiliates thereof herein provided for and the chief examiners, reviewing examiners and other persons whose services may be required in connection with such examinations or the reports thereof, shall be employed by the Comptroller of the Currency with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury; the employment and compensation of examiners, chief examiners, reviewing examiners, assistant examiners, and of the other employees of the office of the Comptroller of the Currency whose compensation is and shall be paid from assessments on banks or affiliates thereof or from other fees or charges imposed pursuant to this section shall be set and adjusted subject to chapter 71 of title 5, United States Code, and without regard to the provisions of other laws applicable to officers or employees of the United States. The funds derived from such assessment may be deposited by the Comptroller of the Currency in accordance with the provisions of section 5234 of the Revised Statutes (U.S.C., title 12, sec. 192) and shall not be construed to be Government funds or appropriated monies; and the Comptroller of the Currency is authorized and empowered to prescribe regulations governing the computation and assessment of the expenses of examinations herein provided for and the collection of such assessments from the banks and/or affiliates examined. Such funds shall not be subject to apportionment for the purpose of chapter 15 of title 31, United States Code, or under any other authority. If any affiliate of a national bank shall refuse to permit an examiner to make an examination of the affiliate or shall refuse to give any information required in the course of any such examination, the national bank with which it is affiliated shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $5,000 for each day that any such refusal shall continue. Such penalty may be assessed by the Comptroller of the Currency and collected in the same manner as expenses of examinations. The Comptroller of the Currency, upon the request of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is authorized to assign examiners appointed under this section to examine foreign operations of State banks which are members of the Federal Reserve System.

[12 USC 481; Revised Statutes § 5240, ¶ 2. As added by act of June 16, 1933 (48 Stat. 192); and amended by acts of Aug. 23, 1935 (49 Stat. 722); June 30, 1948 (62 Stat. 1163); March 31, 1980 (94 Stat. 188); Aug. 10, 1987 (101 Stat. 633); Aug. 9, 1989 (103 Stat. 470); Dec. 19, 1991 (105 Stat. 2248); and July 21, 2010 (124 Stat. 1526).]

Back to Top

3. Salaries of examiners; assessments to defray expenses

Notwithstanding any of the preceding provisions of this section or section 301(f)(1) of title 31, United States Code, to the contrary, the Comptroller of the Currency shall, subject to chapter 71 of title 5, United States Code, fix the compensation and number of, and appoint and direct, all employees of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Rates of basic pay for all employees of the Office may be set and adjusted by the Comptroller without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 or subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code. The Comptroller may provide additional compensation and benefits to employees of the Office if the same type of compensation or benefits are then being provided by any other Federal bank regulatory agency or, if not then being provided, could be provided by such an agency under applicable provisions of law, rule, or regulation. In setting and adjusting the total amount of compensation and benefits for employees of the Office, the Comptroller shall consult with, and seek to maintain comparability with, other Federal banking agencies.

The Comptroller of the Currency may impose and collect assessments, fees, or other charges as necessary or appropriate to carry out the responsibilities of the office of the Comptroller. Such assessments, fees, and other charges shall be set to meet the Comptroller's expenses in carrying out authorized activities.

[12 USC 482; Revised Statutes § 5240, ¶¶ 3 and 4. As amended by acts of Aug. 23, 1935 (49 Stat. 722); April 30, 1956 (70 Stat. 124); Aug. 9, 1989 (103 Stat 520); Dec. 19, 1991 (105 Stat. 2248); Oct. 28, 1992 (106 Stat. 4079); Sept. 23, 1994 (108 Stat. 2232); and July 21, 2010 (124 Stat. 1526).]

Back to Top

4. Special examinations by reserve banks

In addition to the examinations made and conducted by the Comptroller of the Currency, every Federal reserve bank may, with the approval of the Federal reserve agent or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, provide for special examination of member banks within its district. The expense of such examinations may, in the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, be assessed against the banks examined, and, when so assessed, shall be paid by the banks examined. Such examinations shall be so conducted as to inform the Federal reserve bank of the condition of its member banks and of the lines of credit which are being extended by them. Every Federal reserve bank shall at all times furnish to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System such information as may be demanded concerning the condition of any member bank within the district of the said Federal reserve bank.

[12 USC 483; Revised Statutes § 5240, ¶ 5. As amended by act of June 26, 1930 (46 Stat. 814).]

Back to Top

5. Visitatorial powers

(a) No national bank shall be subject to any visitatorial powers other than such as are authorized by law, or vested in the courts of justice or such as shall be or shall have been exercised or directed by Congress, or by either House thereof or by any committee of Congress or of either House duly authorized.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, lawfully authorized State auditors and examiners may, at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice to a bank, review its records solely to ensure compliance with applicable State unclaimed property or escheat laws upon reasonable cause to believe that the bank has failed to comply with such laws.

[12 USC 484; Revised Statutes § 5240, ¶ 6. As amended by acts of Oct. 15, 1982 (96 Stat. 1521) and Jan. 12, 1983 (96 Stat. 2510).]

Back to Top

6. Examinations of Federal reserve banks

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall, at least once each year, order an examination of each Federal reserve bank, and upon joint application of ten member banks the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall order a special examination and report of the condition of any Federal reserve bank.

[12 USC 485; Revised Statutes § 5240, ¶ 7. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

Back to Top

7. Expenses of examining trust departments of national banks

In addition to the expense of examination to be assessed by the Comptroller of the Currency as heretofore provided, all national banks exercising fiduciary powers and all banks or trust companies in the District of Columbia exercising fiduciary powers shall be assessed by the Comptroller of the Currency for the examination of their fiduciary activities a fee adequate to cover the expense thereof.

[12 USC 482. As added by act of July 2, 1932 (47 Stat. 568); and amended by act of April 30, 1956 (70 Stat. 124).]

Back to Top

8. Waiver of reports and examinations of affiliates

Whenever member banks are required to obtain reports from affiliates, or whenever affiliates of member banks are required to submit to examination, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or the Comptroller of the Currency, as the case may be, may waive such requirements with respect to any such report or examination of any affiliate if in the judgment of the said Board or Comptroller, respectively, such report or examination is not necessary to disclose fully the relations between such affiliate and such bank and the effect thereof upon the affairs of such bank.

[12 USC 486. As added by act of Aug. 23, 1935 (49 Stat. 715).]

Back to Top

Last update: May 23, 2013