Curry: Banks Will Continue Leading in Innovation

As new technologies emerge in the financial marketplace, banks will play a leading role, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said in a speech on Friday in Chicago. “The banking industry has always taken the lead in financial innovation, particularly in the area of technology,” he said, citing ATM networks and mobile banking apps. “I’m betting that much of that transformation will take place inside the traditional banking system, and I want the OCC to be ready to deal with it.”

Regulators’ challenge is balancing support for innovation with prudent risk management, Curry said. He expressed concern that much recent financial technology development has occurred outside of insured depository institutions in part due to “the perception that it’s too difficult to get new ideas through the regulatory approval process,” and he said the OCC is responding by developing a new framework for handling technological innovation.

Curry also cited examples of innovation, both inside and outside of the banking industry, that has made it easier for low-to-moderate-income people to manage their finances.