Fair Access to Capital is a Fundamental American principle AXPC Submits Comments on OCC “Fair Access to Financial Services” Proposed Rule

Fair Access to Capital is a Fundamental American principle
AXPC Submits Comments on OCC “Fair Access to Financial Services” Proposed Rule

WASHINGTON – The American Exploration and Production Council, representing the biggest independent exploration and production companies in the United States, submitted comments this week to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in support, with the inclusion of recommended modifications, of the “Fair Access to Financial Services” proposal seeking to ensure all companies have fair access to financial services.

“Fair access to capital is a fundamental American principle.  Making decisions based on personal opinions or political beliefs about an industry, a company or a person poses a threat to the principle of fair access,” said AXPC CEO Anne Bradbury.

Data from IHS Markit shows that U.S. independents produce about 83 percent of the nation’s oil production and 90 percent of its natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL).

AXPC’s Comment letter to OCC’s proposed rulemaking, “Fair Access to Financial Services,” 85 Fed. Reg. 75,261 (Nov. 25, 2020) can be found here, which explains that:

    • This rulemaking will give legal force and effect to the fair-access principle, place all covered banks on notice of their obligations, and inform all persons and companies seeking financial assistance of their rights;
    • Neither OCC nor banks “are well-equipped to balance risks unrelated to financial exposures and the operations required to deliver financial services”;
    • Integrating concerns about climate change with economic and foreign-policy considerations is, as OCC rightly notes, the role of Congress and regulatory bodies specifically tasked with environmental and regulatory oversight;
    • A banks’ decision whether to provide financial services to a particular company should be based on due consideration of creditworthiness; and
    • Basing decisions on general policy preferences or on crude, sector-wide perception of risk distorts the proper nature of the lending process and undermines the core principle of fair access

In addition to urging OCC to expeditiously finalize this rulemaking, AXPC also recommended that OCC include the following in its final regulation:

    • Broader criteria for which banks are covered by the regulation: lowering the proposed total-asset threshold from $100 billion to $50 billion, and including smaller banks that account for 10 percent of the national market share of any financial service;
    • Clarification that foreign banks that provide financial services to U.S. corporations would be covered by the rule;
    • Revision of the language to specify what information is required for a bank to demonstrate that it does not meet the definition of a covered bank.

About the American Exploration and Production Council:
AXPC is a national trade association representing the largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States. We lead the world in the cleanest and safest onshore production of oil and gas, while supporting millions of Americans in high-paying jobs and investing a wealth of resources in our communities. Learn more at https://www.axpc.org/

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