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On Oct. 26, 2021, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”) held its sixth and final symposium at which Michael J. Hsu, Acting Comptroller of the Currency for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), gave an opening speech in which he stressed that, while they know the banks they supervise rely heavily on LIBOR in their lending, derivatives activities, and market-making capacities, all banks must look outside these activities to determine whether they have LIBOR exposures in other contexts, such as loan participation interests or as part of an instrument held for a bank’s liquidity portfolio paying LIBOR-based income. He said that the OCC expects every bank to be executing upon a comprehensive plan to address the effects of LIBOR cessation that is tailored to the bank’s particular exposure to LIBOR under its current business model, risk profile, and strategic plan.

Mr. Hsu stated that “never again should we need to revisit this issue of an unreliable and untrustworthy rate” and “the rates used to replace Libor should be robust,” noting that the International Organization of Securities Commissions determined that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) “provides a robust rate suitable for use in most products, with underlying transaction volumes that are unmatched by other alternatives” and therefore OCC supervisory efforts will initially focus on non-SOFR rates.

Significantly, he stated “let me clear, the federal financial regulators have said no new LIBOR exposures — zombie or otherwise — after Dec. 31, 2021, and we mean it.”

Key Publications

Michael J. Hsu’s Speech