The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is to begin accepting applications from fintech companies to become special-purpose national banks.
During remarks at the Georgetown University Law Center, the Comptroller Thomas Curry said that the move would be in the public interest: “It is clear that fintech companies hold great potential to expand financial inclusion, empower consumers, and help families and businesses take more control of their financial matters.”
Companies applying for a charter will need to prove that they have a reasonable chance of success, appropriate risk management, effective consumer protection, and strong capital and liquidity.
Fintech firms in the US have been lobbying hard for the provision, which will enable them to operate across state lines without having to deal with multiple jurisdictions.
Pointing to the 4000 or so fintech firms in the US already competing with national and state banks, Curry said: "It will be much better for the health of the federal banking system and everyone who relies on these institutions, if these companies enter the system through a clearly marked front gate, rather than in some back door, where risks may not be as thoughtfully assessed and managed."
The OCC has published a paper
discussing the issues and conditions that the agency will consider in granting special purpose national bank charters, which will be open for comment through to 15 January 2017.