Area thrifts will be getting a new regulator because of recently enacted financial services reform legislation.
The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law last week, includes a measure to dissolve the Office of Thrift Supervision and farm out its authority and functions mostly to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as well as to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve.
"We have about 1,000 employees and a large portion of them will go to the OCC," said OTS spokesman William Ruberry.
Capitol Federal Savings and Fidelity Bank will be among the nation's 692 savings and loans that will be overseen by the OCC, the regulator of nationally chartered banks. That's because the two thrifts have federal thrift charters.
Ruberry said state-chartered thrifts — of which there are about 460 in the U.S. —will be overseen by the FDIC and the holding companies of thrifts will be regulated by the Fed.
Ruberry said the OTS has just formed a transition committee that will be responsible for planning the dissolution of the OTS and the transfer of its duties to other regulatory agencies.
The OTS has a year to accomplish that transition and dissolution.
So for Wichita-based Fidelity Bank, that means the waiting begins in terms of understanding what the change in regulators means, said spokesman Al Sanchez.
"The day-to-day impact of this type of legislation is in the details," he said, adding that Fidelity officials expect those details to trickle through over the next year.
Capitol Federal spokesman Jim Wempe said the thrift couldn't comment on the change in regulators because it is in a quiet period now as the Topeka-based company works its way through converting to a wholly publicly traded company.
The OCC is a much larger regulator than the OTS. According to the OCC's most recent annual report, it has more than three times the number of employees than the OTS.
The OCC also supervises more institutions: 1,500 nationally chartered banks and 50 federal branches of foreign banks operating in the U.S.
It also is a proactive regulator. It was one of the first regulators to caution banks about having too much of their loan portfolios tied up in commercial real estate deals.