Bank Regulators Opting for Telework During Coronavirus Outbreak
Like many across the government and in other industries, federal bank regulators have implemented telework policies for their staffs and are working remotely in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Due to the social distancing recommendations implemented in many states and in Washington, D.C.—which had a shelter in place order go into effect today along with similar orders in Maryland and Virginia—observers are preparing and bracing for slowdowns in the rule-writing process for many pending policies. However, agency officials have emphasized that there are no signs at present of rulemaking delay.
According to American Banker, Gilbert Schwartz, a partner at Schwartz & Ballen LLP, said “The whole rulemaking process has to be in chaos right now. It’s difficult to predict what the impact will be, but bottom line ⎯ things are going to slow down. The easiest way to handle this would be extending comment periods for these ongoing proposals.”
Although regulatory business has not stopped, agencies are still affected by the virus. Kathy Kraninger, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director, announced a mandatory telework policy for all employees earlier this month. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) has implemented similar regulations, and personnel required to be in the office are the only ones allowed inside.
“The FDIC is operational. We’re continuing to execute our mission despite the challenges presented by COVID-19,” an FDIC spokesperson said.
Other agencies such as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve have also taken precautions, suspending international travel and providing for teleworking where possible.