On August 4, 2015, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued guidance outlining safety and reliability measures that national banks and federal savings associations offering tax refund-related products should follow. The term “tax refund-related products” includes credit products, deposit products, and settlement services to transmit tax-related funds. According to the OCC, tax refund-related products present particular safety and compliance risk because of: (i) their unique repayment and cost structures; and (ii) banks’ reliance on third-party tax return preparers who interact with customers. Among other things, some of the suggested measures outlined by the OCC include ensuring that the board of directors maintains sound risk management policies, implementing effective internal controls and review for advertising and solicitation, providing appropriate disclosures to consumers and otherwise complying with applicable consumer protection laws and regulations, implementing adequate procedures to ensure that tax refund-related products provided by third parties comply with applicable guidance, ensuring that Bank Secrecy Act systems include tax refund-related products and maintaining adequate capital and liquidity levels.

The bulletin is available at: http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/bulletins/2015/bulletin-2015-36.html