OCC Starts Accepting Applications for National Bank Charters From FinTech Companies

Aug 1, 2018Banks & Credit Unions, Federal Regulation, News

Yesterday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced that it will begin accepting applications for national bank charters from nondepository financial technology companies engaged in banking businesses. For two years, the OCC has conducted outreach to various stakeholders and reviewed public comments in response to their proposals.

“Over the past 150 years banks and the federal banking system have been the source of tremendous innovation that has improved banking services and made them more accessible to millions,” said Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting in a press release announcing the decision. “The federal banking system must continue to evolve and embrace innovation to meet the changing customer needs and serve as a source of strength for the nation’s economy.”

“The decision to consider applications for special purpose national bank charters from innovative companies helps provide more choices to consumers and businesses, and creates greater opportunity for companies that want to provide banking services in America,” Otting continued. “Companies that provide banking services in innovative ways deserve the opportunity to pursue that business on a national scale as a federally chartered, regulated bank.”

According to an article in Bloomberg, the move would potentially let online lenders, payments firms, and certain cryptocurrency ventures operate without relying on a bank, and has received substantial opposition from the financial industry and state regulators. The Marketplace Lending Association, which represents many online lending platforms, praised the move.

The OCC News came on the same day as the Treasury Department released a report endorsing a national Fintech charter.

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