News Release 2021-78 | July 27, 2021

OCC Announces Climate Change Risk Officer, Membership in the NGFS

WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today announced the appointment of Darrin Benhart as its Climate Change Risk Officer and its membership in the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

“Prudently managing climate change risk is a safety and a soundness issue,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu. “The changes announced today will enable the agency to be more proactive in accelerating the development and adoption of robust climate change risk management practices, especially at the larger banks.”

In May, Acting Comptroller Hsu indicated that the agency would be taking a two-pronged approach to act on climate change: engaging and learning from others and supporting the development and adoption of effective climate risk management practices at banks. Today’s moves facilitate action on both fronts.

As the primary prudential regulator of approximately 70 percent of the assets in the U.S. commercial banking system, the OCC is joining NGFS to collaborate with central banks and peer supervisors to share best practices and contribute to the development of climate risk management in the financial sector.

“I am especially excited to announce the appointment of Darrin Benhart as the OCC’s first Climate Change Risk Officer,” Acting Comptroller Hsu said. “Having Darrin in this newly created position will significantly expand the agency’s capacity to collaborate with stakeholders and to promote improvements in climate change risk management at banks. Darrin brings a wealth of supervisory, policy, and leadership experience to the role.”

Mr. Benhart moves to this new position from his role in OCC Large Bank Supervision as a key member of the team overseeing Bank of America. He previously served as Deputy Comptroller for Supervision Risk Management. In that role, he served as chair of the OCC’s National Risk Committee, which is charged with identifying primary and emerging areas of risk to the federal banking system and ensuring that the risks are communicated throughout the agency and to the industry. He also served as Deputy Comptroller for Credit and Market Risk, where he was a principal advisor on risks facing the banking system and set policies for the Commercial and Retail Credit Policy units.

Mr. Benhart joined the OCC in 1992. He received his undergraduate degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance from the University of Northern Iowa and is a Commissioned National Bank Examiner.

Mr. Benhart’s appointment is part of the agency’s holistic efforts to ensure the federal banking system proactively manages the financial risks of climate change and its efforts to improve its energy efficiency and reduce its overall carbon footprint, which align with broader efforts across the federal government. This position will report to the Senior Deputy Comptroller for Supervision Risk and Analysis.

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