Curry Addresses Fintech Charter Questions in Speech

The OCC’s plan to issue limited-purpose national bank charters to fintech companies is not a path to “light-touch” regulation, nor will it mix banking and commerce, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said at an industry conference in New York today. In addition to addressing several questions raised in public debate over the OCC’s plans, he announced that the OCC is currently working on a supplement to its Licensing Manual that will clarify its approach.

Curry emphasized that “the notion that receiving a national bank charter is a ticket to light-touch supervision…is not the case.” Fintech companies that receive national bank charters would be subject to all national bank laws and regulations, including “appropriate capital and liquidity standards,” he said. He added that the limited purpose charter would not be a path to evading state financial regulations and laws, as representatives of state banking regulators have argued.

As for objections based on risks of intermingling of banking and commerce, Curry said that doing so could “interfere with the allocation of credit and foster anti-competitive effects and undesirable concentrations of economic power. Proposals that would mix banking and commerce are inconsistent with the OCC’s chartering standards and would not be approved.” The American Bankers Association has supported the OCC’s plans thus far, provided existing rules are applied evenly and fairly and with effective oversight.