ABA Supports Consistency, Oversight in OCC Fintech Charter Proposal

ABA today offered its support for the OCC’s proposal to grant special-purpose national bank charters to financial technology firms, as long as existing rules are applied evenly and fairly and with effective oversight. In a comment letter, ABA praised the OCC’s efforts to facilitate responsible innovation within the banking system, emphasizing that the implementation of the new charter will be critical to ensuring a level playing field for banks and fintech companies. “The OCC must ensure that the appropriate regulations apply consistently to all national bank charters and that no regulatory gaps emerge,” ABA said.

Specifically, ABA said that fintech companies applying for a limited-purpose charter must be held to the same standards as national banks in terms of governance structure, capital and liquidity requirements, compliance risk management and financial inclusion, among other things. The association urged the OCC to work with other agencies “carefully and cooperatively to assure that no current policy lines are directly or inadvertently moved as a consequence of this action.”

ABA added that in addition to granting a limited-purpose charter to fintech firms, the OCC must also remain focused on empowering traditional banks to innovate. “Banks are the original fintech companies and have a long history of bringing innovative services to customers in a responsible manner,” said ABA VP Rob Morgan. “There are a number of steps that the OCC can take to help facilitate this. These include enabling banks to undertake limited-scale tests of innovative products and making it easier for banks to partner with fintech companies.”

ABA will continue to provide feedback to the OCC as the agency works through the details of the fintech charter in the weeks and months ahead. The association will host a webinar tomorrow at 3 p.m. EST with President and CEO Rob Nichols and a panel of ABA’s fintech and regulatory experts to discuss ABA’s response to the proposal and answer questions from bankers. For more information, contact ABA’s Rob Morgan.

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