Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Issues Interpretation of 12 U.S.C. § 25b

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News Release 2020-176 | December 18, 2020

WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today issued an interpretation of 12 U.S.C. 25b, which codifies preemption standards and establishes procedural requirements for certain preemption actions by the agency.

Federal preemption derives from the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and has been recognized as fundamental to the federal government and the operation of the federal banking system. In the landmark case of McCulloch v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court held that under the Supremacy Clause, states “have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control, the operations” of an entity created under federal law.

Federal preemption permits national banks and federal savings associations, many of which operate across state lines, to operate under a uniform set of rules to support nationwide banking. The agency has concluded that the federal banking system, and its customers, would benefit from a comprehensive interpretation of these provisions, which sets out a consistent framework for compliance.

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