Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said today that the OCC is examining its legal authority to offer a limited-purpose charter for fintech firms, similar to those granted to trust companies without deposit insurance and to credit card banks. According to a report from American Banker, Curry said that the OCC “probably” has the authority to offer a charter to a non-deposit-taking entity, but added that the fintech industry must carefully consider whether or not such a charter would be suitable to the business model of a fintech firm.
Regulators have been receiving increased calls from major fintech players to create a national charter that would provide a regulatory “umbrella” of federal preemption of state rules. However, Curry commented previously that such a charter would require fintech companies to be subject to more stringent regulatory requirements. “I would be very concerned, for example, if we were to authorize a federal license that offers the benefits of the national bank charter, including preemption, without any of the safeguards or responsibilities that apply to banks and thrifts,” Curry said.