Comptroller ‘Considering’ Offering Charters Specific to Fintechs

  • Grace Noto
  • December 2, 2016
  • 0

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is ‘considering’ implementing a special charter for fintech companies, according to remarks made by Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry at the University of Georgetown today, December 2.

As announced by Curry this morning:

Our next step, which I am announcing here today, is that the OCC will move forward with chartering financial technology companies that offer bank products and services and meet our high standards and chartering requirements. We have published a paper today discussing several important issues associated with the approval of a national bank charter, and we are seeking stakeholder comment to help inform our path forward.

This follows Curry’s establishment of an Office of Innovation under the OOC, which will be “up and running” in the first quarter of 2017, according to Curry.

The OCC paper outlines the necessary structure such a charter specific to fintech companies would have to have where it to be written, before breaking that structure down into requirements for government regulation, compliance, liquidity, and other factors.

From the report:

It makes clear that if we decide to grant a national charter to a particular fintech company, that institution will be held to the same high standards of safety and soundness, fair access, and fair treatment of customers that all federally chartered institutions must meet.

In his remarks at Georgetown University, Curry—a former state regulator—outlined the foreseeable problems and concerns associated with drafting such a charter, most notably concerns with how regulatory standards could be applied fairly across traditional banks and fintech companies.

Curry stated:

But, the reality today is that the 4,000 fintech companies out there are already competing with national and state banks, without regard to any of the national bank responsibilities and under a patchwork of supervision. Granting national charters to the companies who desire and warrant one doesn’t weaken the competitive position of existing banks or the dual banking system.

The OCC is currently accepting comments by those in the industry regarding the subject, with questions provided at the end of the office’s paper.  This can be accessed on the OCC website.

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