The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council started their spring cleaning a little late this year.

As required by the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996, the regulators launched the first of a four-part series of requests for public comments in an effort “to identify outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations imposed on insured depository institutions.” The Act mandates that the agencies review their regs at least every 10 years. Any changes must be consistent with the agencies’ statutory mandates, many of which require the issuance of regulations. In some cases, legislative changes may be required.

The regulators divided the regulations into 12 subject-matter categories and identified the regulations within each category. At regular intervals over the next two years, three additional Federal Register notices will open a new batch of regs for review and comment.

First up: Regulations from the categories of Applications and Reporting, International Operations, and Powers and Activities. The other nine categories identified by the agencies are Banking Operations; Capital; Community Reinvestment Act; Consumer Protection; Directors, Officers and Employees; Money Laundering; Rules of Procedure; Safety and Soundness; and Securities.

The regulators suggested specific issues for commenters to consider, including whether changes in the financial services industry have impacted the regulations and whether statutory change is required or the industry would be better served by an alternative approach. Additional questions posted by the agencies: Are there specific regulations or underlying statutes in need of clarification? And do any of the regs impose unduly burdensome requirements on community banks or other smaller insured depository institutions?

Comments will be accepted until September 2.

To read the Federal Register notice, click here.

To submit a comment, click here.

Why it matters: The agencies’ review provides them and the public with an opportunity to consider how to reduce the regulatory burden on community banks and other small insured depository institutions or holding companies in a manner that is compatible with the safety and soundness of insured depository institutions, their affiliates, and the financial system as a whole. Once the public comment period is complete, the agencies will report to Congress any “significant issues” and identify specific areas of the regulations that the lawmakers may need to eliminate or tweak. In addition to accepting public comments, the regulators announced their intent to schedule roundtable discussions with bankers and other interested parties about the regulations under review. Depository institutions, particularly smaller institutions, should consider participating in the public comment process and the roundtable discussions to assist the agencies in identifying and targeting regulatory changes that will hopefully reduce some of the burden on these institutions.