A rating system used by federal government examiners to evaluate the safety and soundness of a savings association or a bank. CAMELS is an acronym for the six elements that are evaluated: Capital, Assets, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to risk. Each of these elements is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, and an overall CAMELS rating is assigned to the institution following an examination. A rating of 1 indicates the best performance, with 5 being the worst. OTS began using the CAMELS system for thrift institution examinations commenced after April 15, 1994. Previously, OTS had used the MACRO rating system. See MACRO.