Office of Thrift Supervision

Thrift Industry FAQs

Ombudsman - Frequently Asked Industry Questions

I am a board member of a federally chartered savings bank. May I use the services of the Ombudsman if I have a problem?

Yes, the OTS Ombudsman is appointed to assist the entire thrift community in resolving problems or concerns relating to regulatory oversight that may hinder the institution.

return to top

I am president of a thrift institution who feels that the OTS examiners are not hearing, understanding, or responding correctly to our concerns. I don't want to damage my ongoing relationship with the OTS. How does Ombudsman handle such a situation?

One of the many options available to the Ombudsman is mediation between the parties in conflict to promote a reconciliation and/or a compromise on the issue.

Before a situation is submitted to the formal appeals process, the Ombudsman can assist in opening avenues of communication so that effective means of addressing and resolving issues can be found.  The Ombudsman can also serve as a confidential, neutral party to attempt to resolve industry issues.

return to top

Who pays the Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman's salary is paid by the Office of Thrift Supervision.

return to top

Since the Ombudsman is employed by the OTS, is he more responsive to the needs and opinions of examiners and OTS managers?

No, the Ombudsman is an advocate for equity. He is required by Congressional mandate and by the OTS to perform his duties in an objective and neutral manner. No sides are taken; no opinions are rendered as to who is right or wrong. At all times, the Ombudsman works to deliver the most informed options possible to enable you to correctly address your problems.

return to top

As a thrift manager, I hesitate to burden OTS staff with my problem. May I talk to the Ombudsman?

As a president of a thrift institution, I may simply want to discuss a problem, concern, or situation without being put in the formal appeals process. May I engage in a conversation about a problem without rumors being spread or notes taken that might circulate?

If I have a regulatory problem I need to discuss, will a call or visit to your office jeopardize my relationship with OTS?

If I simply want information on what to do about a particular problem or concern, can I count on confidentiality from the Ombudsman?

The OTS encourages dialogue with its staff. However, the very nature of the Ombudsman's function is an informal process to facilitate resolution of problems. All conversations with the Ombudsman are strictly confidential. Therefore, no one will know that you have visited the Ombudsman. The discussions, issues, concerns, or problems you present remain confidential, unless you authorize release. Furthermore, to preserve your confidentiality and rights, and to help you feel more secure about the process, the Ombudsman can meet with you at a location other than at the OTS. Telephone meetings also can be arranged.

return to top

As a thrift manager, what should I do before coming to the Ombudsman with an issue?

Before contacting the Ombudsman:

  • Carefully review the regulations governing the issue.
  • Address the problem directly with those involved.
  • Make every effort to remain open to the perspective of the other side, even in disagreement.
  • Ask for and consider the solutions being offered. Discuss the "pros and cons" of these solutions. 

If all of the above fail, and you haven't initiated the formal appeals process, you can contact the OTS Ombudsman for assistance. Once a formal appeals process has been initiated, the Ombudsman cannot intervene.

return to top

We are interested in acquiring a thrift charter. Where do we start?

Please contact a member of the OTS Applications staff at our headquarters or regional office.

return to top

Who can tell me the status of an application?

Check our Applications in Process database.  If you still need assistance, please contact a member of the Applications staff.

return to top

Who can help me with a question about the calculation of my institution's assessment?

Please review Thrift Bulletin 48-25 (for thrift institutions) and Thrift Bulletin 48-21 (for thrift holding companies). If this guidance doesn't answer your question, you may contact the OTS accounting office at (202) 906-6427.

return to top

We have a question about our institution's examination bill.

Please contact the OTS accounting division at (202) 906-6427.

return to top

How how do I find out the status of a proposed regulation and submit a comment on it?

Visit the Laws and Regulations section of this website to see proposed regulations that are open for comment, submit comments, view existing comments and review each proposed regulation for details on how long it will be open for public comment.

return to top

Who do we talk to about an insurance premium issue?

That is primarily the concern of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's (FDIC) Division of Finance, [Premiums] Assessments section.

return to top

I am a new Board member. Can you give me advice on materials I can review that explain the duties and responsibilities of thrift directors?

Yes. OTS has published two guides that provide useful guidance to new and existing board members. The first publication is the Directors' Responsibilities Guide. It provides insight into your duties and responsibilities as a board member. The second publication is the Directors' Guide to Management Reports. This guide sets forth and explains a variety of management reports that directors can use to make responsible decisions. We encourage you to read both.


return to top