In a speech today, Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency, announced the creation of National Bank Charters for Fintech firms. As part of the announcement, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published a paper entitled; Exploring Special Purpose National Bank Charters for Fintech Companies.
The document, embedded below, introduces the OCC’s chartering authority while reviewing the consideration of charter applications from Fintech companies.
The OCC has identified baseline supervisory expectations for any entity seeking a national charter which is outlined in the paper. The OCC’s standard process for making decisions about charter applications would apply to applications from Fintech companies for a special purpose national bank charter.
The OCC is accepting comments on this document now until January 15, 2017 (5 days before President-elect Trump is sworn into office).
The OCC is soliciting responses to the specific questions below.
- What are the public policy benefits of approving fintech companies to operate under a national bank charter? What are the risks?
- What elements should the OCC consider in establishing the capital and liquidity requirements for an uninsured special purpose national bank that limits the type of assets it holds?
- What information should a special purpose national bank provide to the OCC to demonstrate its commitment to financial inclusion to individuals, businesses and communities? For instance, what new or alternative means (e.g., products, services) might a special purpose national bank establish in furtherance of its support for financial inclusion? How could an uninsured special purpose bank that uses innovative methods to develop or deliver financial products or services in a virtual or physical community demonstrate its commitment to financial inclusion?
- Should the OCC seek a financial inclusion commitment from an uninsured special purpose national bank that would not engage in lending, and if so, how could such a bank demonstrate a commitment to financial inclusion?
- How could a special purpose national bank that is not engaged in providing banking services to the public support financial inclusion?
- Should the OCC use its chartering authority as an opportunity to address the gaps in protections afforded individuals versus small business borrowers, and if so, how?
- What are potential challenges in executing or adapting a fintech business model to meet regulatory expectations, and what specific conditions governing the activities of special purpose national banks should the OCC consider?
- What actions should the OCC take to ensure special purpose national banks operate in a safe and sound manner and in the public interest?
- Would a fintech special purpose national bank have any competitive advantages over full- service banks the OCC should address? Are there risks to full-service banks from fintech companies that do not have bank charters?
- Are there particular products or services offered by fintech companies, such as digital currencies, that may require different approaches to supervision to mitigate risk for both the institution and the broader financial system?
- How can the OCC enhance its coordination and communication with other regulators that have jurisdiction over a proposed special purpose national bank, its parent company, or its activities?
- Certain risks may be increased in a special purpose national bank because of its concentration in a limited number of business activities. How can the OCC ensure that a special purpose national bank sufficiently mitigates these risks?
- What additional information, materials, and technical assistance from the OCC would a prospective fintech applicant find useful in the application process?