Office of Thrift Supervision

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The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury, is the primary regulator of federal savings associations (sometimes referred to as federal thrifts).

Federal savings associations include both federal savings banks and federal savings and loans. The OTS is also responsible for supervising savings and loan holding companies (SLHCs) and some state-chartered institutions.

The OTS was established by Congress as a bureau of the Department of the Treasury on August 9, 1989 as part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989.

OTS does not receive appropriations from the U.S. Congress to fund its operations; instead, the entire budget of the agency is paid by assessments on the institutions it regulates.

On June 17, 2009 President Obama announced that he would be asking Congress to merge the Office of Thrift Supervision into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates the largest banks.[1]

OTS is unique among the federal bank regulatory agencies in that it supervises holding companies as well as thrift institutions. This results in OTS providing consolidated supervision for such well-known firms as General Electric (GE), American International Group, Ameriprise Financial, American Express, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch.

OTS's consolidated supervision program for GE, AIG Inc., and Ameriprise has been recognized as "equivalent" by the European Union allowing these firms to operate their financial businesses in the EU without forming an EU holding company and submitting to supervision in the EU.

The OTS has regional offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Jersey City, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Other regulatory agencies like the OTS include the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve system, and the National Credit Union Administration.

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