Curry: Potential Fintech Charter Would Have Bank-Like Standards

Should the OCC decide to grant a federal charter to nonbank fintech companies, as many have suggested and speculated, the agency will hold chartered nonbanks to the “same high standards” that banks are expected to meet, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said today. He added that the agency would issue a paper “soon” outlining its thoughts on the subject and inviting public comment.

“If the OCC decides to grant a national charter in this area, the institution will be held to the same high standards of safety, soundness, and fairness that other federally chartered institutions must meet,” he said during a speech in London. “Having a national charter has tremendous value, and because of that it carries certain responsibilities.”

Curry also described the OCC’s thoughts on pilot programs for innovation, an idea the American Bankers Association has encouraged in its previous comments to the OCC. While Curry said he does not support a “safe space” approach that “allow[s] companies to try out new products and processes without the risk of penalty if the trial runs afoul of consumer protection laws or other regulations,” he said that “carefully designed pilots” can limit liability for companies if their scope and duration are controlled and if tests are closely monitored.