The OCC, Federal Reserve, and FDIC have published an interagency final rule amending the regulations governing eligibility for the 18-month on-site examination cycle which will take effect on January 17, 2017. 1 and 2 rated national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies with less than $1 billion in total assets will now be eligible for an 18-month rather than a 12-month examination cycle.

Section 10(d) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act generally requires that each insured depository institution undergo a full scope, on-site examination at least once during each 12-month period. This can be a time consuming, expensive and disruptive process for community banks and other institutions. In 2015, the FAST Act was enacted, Public Law 114-94, 129 Stat. 1312 (2015), which authorized bank regulatory authorities to extend the on-site examination cycle for certain insured depository institutions. Prior to the FAST Act and impending rules changes examination cycles were available only to qualifying 1 and 2 rated banks with less than $500 million in total assets. The FAST Act amendments and rules changes are intended to reduce regulatory burdens on small, well capitalized, and well managed institutions and allow the agencies to better focus their supervisory resources on those insured depository institutions and domestic branches and agencies of foreign banks that may present capital, managerial, or other issues of supervisory concern.

According to the final interagency rule, the FDIC analyzed the frequency with which institutions rated a composite CAMELS rating of 1 or 2 failed within five years, versus the frequency with which institutions rated a composite CAMELS rating of 3, 4, or 5 failed within five years. That analysis indicated that between 1985 and 2011, insured depository institutions with assets less than $1 billion and a composite CAMELS rating of 1 or 2 had a five-year failure rate that was one-seventh as high as institutions with a CAMELS rating of 3, 4, or 5. The analysis did not change when restricted to institutions with assets between $200 million and $500 million versus institutions with $500 million to $1 billion in assets.