Glossary of Economic Terms: O

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Office of Thrift Supervision – OTS

A bureau of the Treasury Department established in August 1989. OTS has the authority to charter federal Thrift Institutions and serves as the primary regulator of approximately 2,000 federal and state chartered thrifts.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – OCC

An independent bureau of the Treasury Department and the oldest federal financial regulatory body. The OCC oversees the nation’s federally chartered banks and promotes a system of bank supervision and regulation that: promotes safety and soundness by requiring that national banks adhere to sound management principles and comply with the law; and encourages banks to satisfy customer and community needs while remaining efficient competitors in the financial services market.

open-end credit

A line of credit that may be used repeatedly up to a certain limit. (Also called a charge account or revolving credit.)

open-end lease

A lease that may involve a balloon payment based on the value of the property when it is returned. (Also called finance lease.)

open market operations

Purchases and sales of government securities and certain other securities in the open market, through the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as directed by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), to influence the volume of money and credit in the economy. Purchases inject reserves into the banking system and stimulate growth of money and credit; sales do the opposite.

option

The right to buy or sell a security or commodity at a specified price during a specified period. The holder of an option has the right, but not the obligation, to buy (call option) or sell (put option) a security or commodity at a specified price during a specified period. The writer of an option is obligated to sell (call option) or purchase (put option) the instrument only if the holder chooses to exercise the option.

OTC margin bond

A debt security, not traded on the national securities exchange, which meets certain Regulation T requirements as to size of original offering, available information, and status of interest payments. See also over the counter (OTC).

overdraft checking account

A checking account associated with a line of credit that allows a person to write checks for more than the actual balance in the account, generally with a finance charge on the overdraft.

over the counter – OTC

Figurative term for the means of trading securities that are not listed on an organized stock exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange, as in OTC margin bonds. Over-the-counter trading is done by broker-dealers who communicate by telephone and computer networks.

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Last updated February 6, 2004