American Fintech Council Celebrates OCC Inclusion Steps

The American Fintech Council (AFC), an industry association representing Fintech companies and banks, applauded the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on the expansion of REACh 2.0 and continued commitment to collaboration. The AFC said the agency has continued its pragmatic approach to addressing barriers to financial inclusion by expanding the focus of their Roundtable for Economic Access and Change, known as Project REACh, to include financial technology.

“For nearly four years, the OCC has convened the participants of Project REACh for open and candid conversations about the barriers to fair and full participation in the U.S. banking system for all families, with the goal of realizing real change,” said Ian P. Moloney, head of policy and regulatory affairs for AFC. “By expanding Project REACh’s focus, Acting Comptroller Hsu and his dedicated team recognize the importance and positive impact that responsible innovation can have on historically underserved communities. It is my sincere hope that innovators and regulators continue finding opportunities like Project REACh to build a more inclusive financial services industry together.”

Under REACh 2.0, working groups will replace workstreams and focus on place-based initiatives, underserved and disadvantaged populations, technology and tools, products, and services. Existing REACh projects will transition to the new working groups.

“Through Project REACh, more than 100,000 credit invisibles now have access to credit and more than half a billion dollars has been invested into minority depository institutions,” said OCC Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu. “As we tackle additional barriers that prevent full, equal, and fair participation in the nation’s economy, we’ve made structural changes to Project REACh so we can sharpen our efforts and leverage new opportunities… This new approach provides more agility to engage in a broader range of initiatives that not only address barriers but accelerate solutions to financial inclusion.”

Since July 2020, the OCC’s Project REACh has assembled key stakeholder groups to address barriers to financial inclusion through its four workstreams including alternative credit scoring, affordable homeownership, revitalizing minority depository institutions, and developing opportunities for small businesses.

In addition to AFC’s support of the OCC’s REACh 2.0’s expanded focus on leveraging fintech, AFC CEO Phil Goldfeder participated in a panel discussion at this year’s Project REACh Financial Inclusion Summit to explore the role of technology in increasing access to credit alongside AFC members, Self Financial and Upstart.

The AFC’s mission is to promote an innovative, transparent, inclusive, and customer-centric financial system by supporting responsible innovation in fintech and encouraging sound public policy. The organization said it is committed to working with policymakers, regulators, and other key stakeholder groups who believe in developing regulatory standards that balance access to financial services, innovation, and regulatory compliance.

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