Financial Trades Raise Concerns About Potential OCC Payments Charter

The American Bankers Association joined several financial trade associations today in a letter to Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks expressing concerns about the OCC’s plans to move forward with a narrow-purpose payments charter, noting that they would strongly oppose efforts to do so.  

The letter came after Brooks announced on an episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast last month that the OCC will unveil a charter this fall that would essentially be a “national version of a state money transmission license,” offering nonbank payment providers “a national platform with preemption.” He also indicated that the OCC would seek to allow firms operating successfully under this charter to be granted direct Fed access after a certain time period.  

“These charters could introduce serious risks that would undermine the valuable role that national banks play in our dynamic economy,” the groups noted. “We believe that a payments-focused charter introduces serious unintended consequences.”  

The associations urged OCC to proceed carefully and they emphasized that existing rules and oversight should be applied consistently with those adhered to by national banks. “The issues being considered have broad implications for the banking system and longstanding policy determinations. Any change in them should be subject to robust public comment well before considering a new charter.”