Supervision of International Activities of U.S. Banking Organizations

The Federal Reserve has supervisory and regulatory responsibility for the international operations of member banks, bank holding companies, and Edge and agreement corporations. The international activities of U.S.–chartered banks include lending to and accepting deposits from foreign customers at the banks’ U.S. offices and engaging in other financial transactions with foreign counterparts. Some additional responsibilities include:

  • authorizing the establishment of foreign branches of national banks and state member banks and regulating the scope of their activities;
  • chartering and regulating the activities of Edge and agreement corporations, which are specialized institutions used for international and foreign business;
  • authorizing foreign investments of member banks, Edge and agreement corporations, and bank holding companies and regulating the activities of foreign firms acquired by such investors; and
  • establishing supervisory policy and practices regarding foreign lending by state member banks

The bulk of the international business of U.S.–chartered banks takes place at their branch offices located abroad and at their foreign-incorporated subsidiaries, usually wholly owned. Increasingly, U.S. banks are also offering a range of sophisticated financial products to residents of other countries and to U.S. firms abroad. (Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions)

Policy Letters

Supervision of International Activities of U.S. Banking Organizations

Timing Expectations for the Completion of Safety-and-Soundness Examination and Inspection Reports for Regional Banking Organizations

Managing Foreign Exchange Settlement Risks for Physically Settled Transactions

Timing Standards for the Completion of Safety-and-Soundness Examination and Inspection Reports for Community Banking Organizations

Consolidated Supervision of Bank Holding Companies and the Combined U.S. Operations of Foreign Banking Organizations

Guidance on Monitoring Compliance with the Restrictions on Foreign Investments Contained in Regulation K and Guidance for Internationally Active Domestic Banking Organizations on Recordkeeping Requirements Regarding Foreign Investments

Deposits Held in Foreign Branches of U.S. Banks

Advances by Banking Edge Corporations to Parent Institutions

Rating System For International Examinations

Additional Resources

Manual References

  • Bank Holding Company Supervision Manual
    • Section 3550.0, "Section 4(c)(13) of the BHC Act (International Activities of Bank Holding Companies)"
    • Section 4090.0, "Country Risk"
  • Commercial Bank Examination Manual
    • Section 7000, "International – Examination Overview and Strategy"
    • Section 7040, "International – Country Risk and Transfer Risk"
    • Section 7020.1, "International – Loan Portfolio Management"
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Last Update: December 15, 2023