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Resources for bankers

Investment Securities

The links in this section primarily cover money market investments and securities purchased by banks for their own accounts. Money market generally refers to the markets for short-term credit instruments, such as commercial paper, bankers' acceptances, negotiable certificates of deposit, repurchase agreements, and federal funds.

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Investment Securities (Comptroller's Handbook Section 203, 1990)

AL=Advisory Letter
BC=Banking Circular

Classification of Securities (OCC 2013-28)
Guidance replaces the previously issued OCC Bulletin 2004-25, “Uniform Agreement on the Classification of Securities” (2004 Agreement) by applying the agencies’ revised investment grade standards of credit worthiness, in place of credit ratings, as the basis for classifying investment securities.

Investments in Corporate Debt Securities (OCC 2012-26, September 2012)
Guidance on Federal Savings Associations purchase and retention of corporate debt securities.

Alternatives to the Use of External Credit Ratings in the Regulations of the OCC (OCC 2012-18, June 2012)
Guidance to assist national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, banks) in their exercise of due diligence to determine whether particular securities are “investment grade” when assessing credit risk for portfolio investments.

Risk Management and Lessons Learned (OCC 2009-15, May 2009)
Highlights lessons learned from the current market disruption and reemphasizes key principles discussed in previous guidance.

Tax Lien Certificates (OCC 2004-39, August 2004)
Covers the risk management practices the OCC expects banks to exercise when purchasing tax lien certificates.

Interagency Policy on Banks/Thrifts Providing Financial Support to Funds Advised by the Banking Organization or Its Affiliates (OCC 2004-2, January 2004)
Covers issues and risks related to banks providing financial support to investment funds.

Investment Portfolio Credit Risks: Safekeeping Arrangements (OCC 2002-39, September 2002)
Covers potentially significant credits risks banks incur when safekeeping investment portfolio assets with third parties.

Unsafe and Unsound Investment Practices (OCC 2002-19, May 2002)
Covers potential risk to future earnings and capital from poor investment decisions made when interest rates are low.

Risk-Based Capital: Nonfinancial Equity Investments (OCC 2002-5, January 2002)
Covers the final rule on the regulatory capital treatment of nonfinancial equity investments published in the Federal Register, January 25, 2002.

Investment Securities (OCC 1998-20, April 1998)
Provides an overview of the Supervisory Policy Statement on Investment Securities and End-User Derivatives Activities (Federal Register Vol. 63, No 78, 1998), which covers FFIEC guidance for managing the risks of investment activities. The second link takes you to the Federal Register Web site.

Repurchase Agreements (OCC 1998-6, February 1998)
Provides an overview of Repurchase Agreements of Depository Institution with Securities Dealers and Others (Federal Register Vol. 63, No. 28, 1998), with covers FFIEC's guidance to insured depository institutions for entering into repurchase agreements in a safe and sound manner. The second link takes you to the Federal Register Web site.

Community Development Securities (AL 1997-2, February 1997)
Covers the standards and treatment of Community Development Securities under 12 CFR 1 and 12 CFR 25.

Purchases of Structured Notes (AL 94-2, July 1994)
Background and description of common structured notes, and OCC’s policy with regard to them.

Risk Management of Financial Derivatives (BC 277, 1993)
Guidance on risk management practices to national banks and federal branches and agencies engaging in financial derivatives activities.

Investments in Investment Companies Composed Wholly of Bank Eligible Investment (BC 220, November 1986)
Advises national banks of their authority to purchase investment company shares and of the specialized reporting and accounting considerations.

Securities Denominated in Foreign Currencies (BC 216, September 1986)
Covers OCC policies concerning ownership of securities not denominated in U.S. dollars.

Securities Lending (BC 196, May 1985)
Covers the uniform policy for supervising national banks that lend securities.

Related News and Issuances
Publish DateIdentifierTitle
03/18/2015  NR 2015-37, Comptroller of the Currency Issues Statement Regarding Bank Investment in the Municipal Securities Market
06/12/2014  OCC 2014-27, Volcker Rule: Interim Examination Procedures
10/29/2013  OCC 2013-28, Classification of Securities: Interagency Guidance