Despite Subpoena, OCC Taps Lending Club for ‘Responsible Innovation’ Guidance

  • JJ Hornblass
  • May 17, 2016
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canstockphoto9990459The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced yesterday that it was turning to — brace yourself — Lending Club for guidance on “responsible innovation.”

Lending Club disclosed yesterday that it was subpoenaed by the Department of Justice.

On June 23, the OCC will hold a forum entitled, “Supporting Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System.” The regulator has tapped Richard Neiman, head of regulatory and government affairs at Lending Club, to discuss “Responsible Innovation and the Consumer.” The session specifically will address the following:

Demographic changes are influencing consumer needs and expectations. Innovation is also offering opportunities to reach underserved consumers and communities. Hear from panelists about how responsible innovation can meet these evolving, as well as long standing, consumer needs and broaden financial access.

Thomas J. Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, said that the event is intended to demonstrate the OCC’s “commitment to maintaining an open, active dialogue regarding innovation, and will help further our thinking as we develop our framework for responsible innovation.”

Only two fintech professionals, including Neiman, are currently listed on the event’s agenda. Neiman has worked at Lending Club since October 2014. He has previously served as Superintendent of Banks for the State of New York Banking Department.

The Justice Department served Lending Club a grand jury subpoena seeking information about the recent manipulation of lending agreements by the online provider of credit. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also examining the recent events at Lending Club. In a regulatory filing, Lending Club indicated that it plans to cooperate with Justice and the SEC. “No assurance can be given as to the timing or outcome of these matters,” Lending Club added.

On May 9 Lending Club announced that founder Renaud Laplanche, who was chairman and chief executive officer, resigned after internal reviews into altered application dates on $3 million of loans before their sale, and Laplanche failed to disclose his interests in a fund that Lending Club was considering investing in.

Bank Innovation reached out to the OCC for comment. The regulator has not responded to Bank Innovation‘s requests.

The OCC is charged with ensuring that national banks and federal savings associations “operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.”

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at or 212-564-8972.

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