A top US regulatory body, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), is to set up a dedicated innovation office to "identify, understand, and respond" to the changing banking landscape.
The new Office of Innovation will be headed by a chief innovation officer assigned to OCC headquarters with a small staff located in Washington, New York, and San Francisco.
Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, comments: “By establishing an Office of Innovation, we are ensuring that institutions with federal charters have a regulatory framework that is receptive to responsible innovation and the supervision that supports it.”
The agency is currently exploring the possibility of granting special purpose bank charters to non-bank financial firms, but has yet to make a determination on the issue. Instead, a paper will be published "later this year" discussing the issues raised and seeking comment on the topic.
The new Innovation Office will open in Q1 2017, and will act as central point of contact and clearinghouse for requests and information. The OCC says theunit will establish an outreach and technical assistance program for banks and nonbanks, conduct research and promote inter-agency collaboration.