U.S. banking regulator taps official to oversee climate change risk to banks

A leading U.S. bank regulator is creating a new position specifically to monitor climate change risk at the nation’s largest banks. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Tuesday it had created a Climate Change Risk Officer to lead the agency’s efforts to ensure banks are appropriately managing risk around climate change. The post will be filled by Darrin Benhart, a longtime OCC official who most recently helped supervise Bank of America.

“Having Darrin in this newly created position will significantly expand the agency’s capacity to collaborate with stakeholders and to promote improvements in climate change risk management at banks,” said Michael Hsu, the acting comptroller of the currency, in a statement.

The move by the OCC underscores how aggressively financial regulators under the Biden administration are moving to incorporate climate change as another major risk to track across the financial system.

Also on Tuesday, the OCC announced that it had joined the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, a global group of central banks and regulators that focuses on the risks climate change could pose to the financial system. The Federal Reserve joined the same group in December, and in January, announced it had formed its own in-house team to track climate change financial risks.