Don’t know who regulates your bank? Find out, ASAP!


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If you’re curious about how banks are regulated and your money is protected, it’s important to understand that multiple agencies help keep America’s financial institutions safe and compliant with the law. Some of the key regulatory agencies you may hear about are the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Reserve (the Fed), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), although there are others involved as well.

This topic has been in the spotlight recently. You may have read the headlines and wondered who those agencies were and how they knew when to spring into action to help ensure that customers’ finances didn’t suffer.

Here, you can learn more about how bank regulation works, including:

  • What is the history of bank regulation?
  • What exactly do bank regulators do?
  • Who regulates banks?

What Do Bank Regulators Do?

Now that you have read about a few of the critical moments in U.S. banking regulation history, you may be interested to get a little more insight into what bank regulation accomplished during the ups and downs of America’s economy.

Here are some of the key points to know about what bank regulators do and how they can provide a sense of financial security:

  • Review the financial health of banks and step in as they deem necessary
  • Regulate foreign banks that are in business in the United States
  • Examine banks to make sure their practices are safe, sound, and fair
  • Intervene if banks are failing and ensure that depositors are protected up to the limits of insurance (and sometimes beyond, as mentioned above).

Who Regulates Banks?

The next aspect to delve into is who has the responsibility of regulating banks and can intervene when they deem necessary. Here are the three key players when it comes to oversight of commercial banks:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is an independent bureau within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Its role is to charter, regulate, and supervise America’s national banks and federal savings associations.

In addition, the OCC oversees federal branches and agencies of foreign banks doing business on U.S. soil.

The OCC describes its mission as:

  • Ensuring that these institutions conduct business in a safe and sound manner
  • Determining that there is equitable access to financial services and customers are treated fairly
  • Making certain that the banks it oversees are complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

The Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve, or the Fed, is responsible for regulating a different set of entities: some state chartered banks, certain nonbank financial institutions, bank and financial holding companies, and foreign banking organizations.

The Federal Reserve is America’s central bank, and has a broad jurisdiction as it works to promote the health of the U.S. economy and the stability of the financial system. Among its key functions are:

  • Conducting on-site and off-site examinations of banks to make sure they are operating in accordance with applicable laws.
  • Making sure that banks have enough capital available to withstand economic fluctuations. This can involve reviewing balance sheets, projections, and other financial materials.
  • Possibly reviewing “resolution plans,” which detail how a financial organization would resolve a situation in which it was in financial trouble or failed.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

As mentioned above, the FDIC plays a role in insuring its member banks so that, in the rare event of a bank failure, depositors are covered for $250,000 per account holder, per ownership category, per insured institution.

However, the FDIC does more than this. It also supervises state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve. It this capacity, it oversees more than 3,500 banks, and does the following:

  • Checks for safe and sound operations
  • Examines institutions to be sure they are complying with consumer protection regulations and laws.

A Brief History of Bank Regulation

America’s banking history has taken some twists and turns, as regulation has gone in and out of favor. Here are some key points in U.S. banking to consider:

  • In 1791, the First Bank of the United States was created, but its charter was not renewed in 1811. The reason? While the bank provided some stability to the new nation’s economy, people worried that it put too much financial control in the hands of the federal government.
  • State banks began to flourish and funded the War of 1812, but, with a large amount of credit being extended, the federal government stepped in again, chartering the Second Bank of the United States in 1816.
  • There were again worries that the federal government had too much power over the nation’s purse strings. In 1836, the Second Bank was dissolved.
  • An era of free banking emerged, without federal oversight or, in many cases, the need to have an official charter to do business. The federal government tried to rein this in with the National Banking Act of 1863; the OCC was formed to charter banks and ensure that they backed their notes with U.S. government securities.
  • The next few decades were a bit of a bumpy ride, with bank panics, such as the Panic of 1907, occurring. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 to help bring order to the economy.
  • With the debilitating Great Depression, which began in 1929, new regulations were needed. The FDIC was formed in 1933 to help shore up the faltering economy.
  • More recently, after a period of deregulation, the government responded to the financial crisis of 2007 and the subsequent Great Recession
  • It passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, designed to improve accountability and financial transparency in America’s financial system.
  • In 2021, President Biden signed an executive order that charged federal regulators with improving their oversight of bank mergers, as part of a larger effort to increase competition in the country’s economy.
  • An example of financial regulation in action occurred in mid-March 2023, when the federal government stepped in as two banks faltered. The government even took the step of guaranteeing deposits over the typical FDIC insurance maximum of $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category, per insured institution.

Who Regulates Credit Unions?

Not everyone, however, keeps their accounts at a bank. There are other financial institutions, such as credit unions.

If you have an account (or multiple accounts) at a credit union, the institution that holds your money will be regulated at either the state or federal level. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has oversight of federal credit unions. State-chartered credit unions are regulated by their state.

Also, credit union accounts can be insured by NCUA vs. FDIC. It’s NCUA that provides $250,000 coverage per depositor, per ownership category, per insured institution.

Who Regulates Savings and Loan Associations?

As of 2023, there are 624 savings and loan associations (sometimes called “thrifts”) operating in the U.S. While these financial institutions used to be federally regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), that bureau ceased to operate in 2010.

Now, savings and loans are regulated by the Fed and the OCC. These organizations are tasked with ensuring the thrifts are following the applicable laws and operating safely and soundly.

How Do I Know Who Regulates My Bank?

If you are curious about how your own bank is regulated, you can try the following, which will narrow down the field somewhat. The OCC, which regulates national banks and savings associations, has a “Who Regulates My Bank?” website.

If you don’t get the answer you are seeking there, you can call the OCC Customer Assistance Group at 800-613-6743 for further assistance.

The Takeaway

Banking regulation helps keep our financial institutions safe and sound and compliant with the appropriate laws. It also helps protect our economic stability and consumers’ deposits.

Several agencies are involved in banking regulation, such as the Fed, FDIC, OCC, and NCUA. While they rarely need to take action such as overseeing a bank closure, it can be wise to know who they are and how they function. This can help you feel more secure, knowing that they are there, backing you up; transparency in financial matters is important.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at Sofi.

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Are Americans ready to have a holly, jolly consumer Christmas?

Are Americans ready to have a holly, jolly consumer Christmas?

As competition for consumers increases with an ever-expanding market, small businesses need to be smart and strategic about attracting customers and closing sales—particularly around the holidays. Data shows that up to 65% of small businesses’ annual revenue was generated during the holidays last year. With that much money on the line, holidays mean big business for small businesses. 

But when the busy season of the holidays nears, limited resources and high demand can stretch small businesses to the limit and leave them unsure where to put their time and money. A new Intuit QuickBooks-commissioned survey of 6,500 adults in the US reveals how small businesses can unwrap success this holiday season.

This year, small businesses can look forward to a 42%increase in consumer spending over the holiday season, increasing from $88 billion to an estimated $125 billion. This averages approximately $485 towards what each consumer may have earmarked to shop small this year. Despite economic volatility and a climate where inflation and interest rates continue to fluctuate, shopping small is holding strong with consumers.

What’s driving the increase in small business spending? Work bonuses and savings. More than a third of respondents (34%) expect a bonus this holiday season and of these, more than two-thirds (69%) say this will allow them to spend more money at small businesses. Further, 7 in 10 consumers (70%) shared that they began saving for their holiday gift shopping in September of this year or earlier.


The spirit of gift-giving is alive and well this holiday season. More than 9 in 10 (94%) consumers plan to buy gifts this holiday season with most buying gifts for children (58%), a spouse (41%), or a parent (40%). On average, consumers will be shopping for gifts for 13 people this year. 

And while gifting experiences is a trend that comes and goes, small businesses need not feel that pressure this holiday season. As more time passes from the start of the pandemic, 2 in 5 (43%) consumers say they do not have a preference between presents and experiences and a majority (55%) prefer to gift presents over experiences.


The early kick-off to holiday shopping is still in effect this year. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) consumers say they’re planning to start shopping before October. Small businesses don’t want to be unprepared for early shoppers and can stay ahead by making sure inventory is available before the busy season and well stocked in November. Two in 5 (41%) consumers say they plan to start shopping in November this year and almost half (48%) of consumers indicate they do most of their shopping in November. Among those planning to shop small this year, Small Business Saturday (November 25) is the most popular day (46%) with Black Friday (November 24) as a close second (43%).


Bridging the gap between an online and in-person shopping experience could boost sales for small businesses this season—and remembering to advertise sales online. Now more than ever, consumers have a sea of options at their fingertips. And with the peak of the pandemic firmly in the rearview mirror, the appeal of in-person shopping is growing. Data shows that consumer interest in balancing the digital and in-person experience will have a surge this holiday season. Most consumers (43%) plan to shop equally online and in-person for the holidays this year (compared with only 28% who say they plan to shop primarily in-person and 29% who say they plan to shop primarily online). Behind this push? Three in 5 (61%) consumers say they find the best small business deals in-person. When it comes to customer service, consumers are clear: 73% say the option to buy online and pick up in store and home delivery options are more likely to get them to buy from small businesses.

Dragos Condrea/istockphoto

Respondents: 5,905 US adults, age 18+


Small businesses selling in-person this season should be mindful of keeping crowds from becoming too overwhelming. While holiday cheer should be in the air, many consumers are drained by the shopping demands of the season. Excitement could be waning because a majority of consumers find holiday shopping to be a stressful experience. More than 1 in 2 (57%) consumers say shopping for the holidays is stressful and the biggest contributor to this stress iscrowded stores (67%). 

Consumers looking to avoid the stressors of holiday shopping are favoring small businesses. Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) consumers say shopping at small businesses is less stressful than shopping at big retailers. Among these consumers, almost half (49%) expect to spend more at small businesses this holiday season.


A major factor in supporting crowd control is offering a seamless and fast checkout experience. As shown above, almost two-thirds (63%) of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from small businesses with a physical store if they offer contactless or mobile payments. Digitizing the checkout experience as much as possible and integrating payment solutions that allow consumers to pay the way they want with online invoicing, mobile payment apps, and in-person card readers is good for business.

Adam Yee/istockphoto

Bring in Buy Now, Pay Later for a boost

Small online retailers, particularly those with younger customers, should offer Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) for a boost in sales. Providing flexibility and the appeal of no interest rates for shorter terms, BNPL has the potential to attract new customers and retain loyal ones. Three in 5 (60%) consumers plan to use BNPL for holiday shopping this year. Demand for BNPL is higher among younger consumers with 70% aged 18-24 planning to use it for the holidays.

Discounts can make a sale

Small businesses hoping for a successful holiday season can offer discounts and sales as a strategic moveFor small businesses with a store, remember to offer discounts both in-store and online. Consumers are doing their research with holiday deals and shipping options top of mind. Almost all (94%) consumers say they compare prices between small businesses and big retailers during the holiday season. Among those who compare prices, 50% say they do so always or often. But most importantly, 51% of consumers say finding a better deal at a bigger retailer or better shipping options (44%) would make them not buy from a small business. Small businesses can leverage an updated website, email marketing, and social media to advertise too-good-to-pass-up deals during this busy season.

Venture into video

Product-based small businesses that sell directly from a website can capitalize on the rise of video. Video has become increasingly important. With small businesses hoping to find new customers and keep current customers coming back, video is an important tool. Search engines, particularly Google, and social media love videos—and so do consumers. Seven in 10 (71%) consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product from a small business’s website during the holiday season if there’s a video showcasing it.


With a long list of social media apps, it can be hard for small businesses to know where to focus their energies. And while TikTok’s popularity is solidly in place among Gen Z, Facebook is still a major player overall. One third (36%) of consumers say they look to Facebook for gift inspiration, making it top the list of social media platforms for holiday inspiration. This holds true for millennial consumers aged 25-44 as well with almost half (49%) saying they turn to Facebook for gift inspiration. 

When it comes to sales, consumers planning to buy from social media rank Facebook (62%) as the top app they’re most likely to purchase from. Instagram (55%) is a close second.

Partner with influencers for more sway with younger customers 

The power of the influencer is redefining marketing. For small businesses with a larger base of young customers, partnering with influencers to promote their products and services during the holiday season can have a large return on investment. While 1 in 3 (33%) consumers agree that they’re more likely to buy from a small business if an influencer promotes their products, services, or experiences, among Gen Z consumers aged 18-24, this jumps to 43%. For consumers persuaded by the pull of influencers, 57% said they trust influencers with up to 1 million followers the most.


Just as data showed last holiday season, customers are eager to support local small businesses this holiday season. For small businesses, leaning into their location and building a community of loyal shoppers could be the key to holiday success. Three in 5 (62%) consumers say they’re more likely to buy from a small business if it’s local. And 2 in 3(68%) consumers say already being part of a small business’s rewards or loyalty program is more likely to make them shop there this holiday season. Donating small business proceeds to charity (38%) is the second biggest pull among consumers.

This article originally appeared on the QuickBooks Resource Center and was syndicated by


Nuttawan Jayawan/istockphoto

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