To ensure transparency and clarity as the OCC begins granting special-purpose national bank charters for fintech companies, the American Bankers Association urged the agency to solicit public comment and pursue federal interagency cooperation when it weighs action on charter applications.
“This individual approach adds complexity that will require significant resources to reliably and effectively examine and supervise these newly chartered institutions,” ABA said in a comment letter on the OCC’s licensing manual supplement that covers special-purpose charters. “Public comment should be carefully considered as these new approaches are untested and may inadvertently lead to different treatment of similar business lines.”
ABA reiterated its support for the OCC’s approach, provided that “the same rules and oversight are applied consistent[ly] with those for any national bank,” adding that language in the manual supplement goes a long way toward clarifying how the OCC will ensure special-purpose banks meet community needs, that the agency will affirmatively avoid commingling banking and commerce and that deposit-taking banks will not qualify for the limited-purpose charters. “[A]ny bank that seeks to accept any form of deposits would qualify as a full-service bank and should be subject to the same licensing procedures as all insured depository national banks,” ABA said.
ABA also urged the OCC to give “priority of resources” to the more than 1,400 existing national banks seeking expanded opportunities to innovate, for example by enabling limited-scale tests of innovative products and facilitating bank partnerships with fintech firms. For more information, contact ABA’s Rob Morgan.