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NextGen Magazine


Comptroller of the Currency Appoints Chief Climate Risk Officer

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 13, 2022

Recognizing the risks to the financial system posed by climate change, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) appointed Dr. Yue (Nina) Chen as its first chief climate risk officer, the OCC announced.

Dr. Chen is the former executive deputy superintendent of the Climate Division at the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), where she was “responsible for integrating climate-related financial risks into supervision of regulated entities,” the OCC statement read.

In her new position, Dr. Chen will lead development and implementation of climate risk management frameworks for the federal banking system.

The OCC, the agency that regulates large banks, has recognized the risk that a warming planet holds for financial institutions. Weather-related catastrophes that cause larger-than-predicted losses to banks could "threaten the stability of the financial system,” according to advocates of climate-driven financial oversight mentioned by The New York Times. The risk of climate change-induced weather-related events increase the risk to financial institutions in determining the issuing and pricing of loans.

Regulators have long warned about the need to factor climate change into financial decisions, according to the Times.

The OCC said that Dr. Chen’s role is an expansion of the one held by a bank supervisor, Acting Director Jonathan Fink, whose job was “to urge banks to consider climate risks in their daily operations.”

The holder of a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Chen has also worked in the private sector, as a Goldman Sachs asset manager and as a vice president of Royal Bank of Canada Global Arbitrage and Trading. She was director of conservation investments at the Nature Conservancy before joining the New York State DFS.