The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Tuesday announced the appointment of Darrin Benhart as its first climate change risk officer.
Benhart, who joined the OCC in 1992, moves to this new position from his role in Large Bank Supervision, where he was a key member of the team overseeing Bank of America. Previously, he served as deputy comptroller for Supervision Risk Management. In that role, he was chair of the OCC’s National Risk Committee.
The announcement of Benhart’s new position coincides with the OCC becoming a member of the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).
“Prudently managing climate change risk is a safety and a soundness issue,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu in a press release. “The changes announced today will enable the agency to be more proactive in accelerating the development and adoption of robust climate change risk management practices, especially at the larger banks.”
When Janet Yellen was confirmed to lead the Treasury Department—which oversees the OCC—in January, she stated her intent to strengthen focus on climate change’s effect on the economy. Hsu took over as acting head of the OCC in May and quickly announced the agency would act on climate change by engaging with others and supporting the development and adoption of effective climate risk management practices at banks.
Having Benhart as climate change risk officer “will significantly expand the agency’s capacity to collaborate with stakeholders and to promote improvements in climate change risk management at banks,” Hsu said.
Benhart will report to the Senior Deputy Comptroller for Supervision Risk and Analysis Blake Paulson.