Comptroller of the Currency Needs Authority To Dispose of Property Remaining From Failed National Banks

GGD-81-94: Published: Sep 25, 1981. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1981.

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GAO examined the management by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) of property remaining from closed receiverships of national banks which became insolvent prior to the assumption of responsibility by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for liquidating failed national banks in 1934. The property has been in the custody of OCC for many years. During the past 20 years, no one has filed claims for the property, and the agency has not attempted to locate the owners.

Without an appraisal by experts, OCC has no official estimate of the value of this property. Aside from the obviously worthless items, the intrinsic value of much of the property probably would be overshadowed by its appeal to collectors for its antique or historic value. Also, there exists the possibility that some of these items might be priceless because of their condition, history, or uniqueness. The most recent audit of the inventory by OCC internal auditors disclosed major discrepancies between the physical inventory and the inventory control records. In view of the problems in safekeeping the property and the lack of action by either the owners to obtain or the agency to return the property, GAO believes that OCC should initiate actions to dispose of it. GAO has been unable, however, to find any statutory authority which authorizes the final disposition of the property.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should enact legislation to authorize the Comptroller of the Currency to dispose of property remaining from safe-deposit boxes and other safekeeping arrangements of closed national banks.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Comptroller of the Currency should attempt to locate the owners of property remaining from insolvent national banks liquidated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency-appointed receivers. It may be appropriate to advertise for such owners once a week for 3 or 4 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the liquidated bank's community followed by final notice in the Federal Register.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Comptroller of the Currency should develop adequate procedures for safekeeping the property until its disposition is accomplished.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

 

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