The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has backtracked from a previous position and decided to put national banks on notice that they are expected to resolve consumer complains when contacted by state officials."While the OCC has certain exclusive regulatory, supervisory, and enforcement authority over national banks, that does not mean that national banks cannot and should not accept information from state agencies, and other sources, and take appropriate actions to address their customers' concerns," OCC general counsel Julie Williams said. The OCC guidance also says national banks and their mortgage subsidiaries should follow up and provide state attorneys general or state regulators with information on how a complaint was resolved. New York AG Eliot Spitzer said he is pleased that the OCC has "pulled back" from its previous position that told national banks to ignore state inquiries about consumer complaints and to report such inquiries to the OCC. But the New York AG reaffirmed his efforts to roll back OCC regulations that exempt national banks and their subsidiaries from state consumer protection laws. "As a matter of law, the OCC is wrong," Mr. Spitzer said.

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