ABA, Financial Groups Oppose Proposed Payments Charter Changes by OCC

The American Bankers Association and six other financial trade groups today said they “oppose the OCC’s effort to grant commercial companies like Amazon or Facebook a national payments charter to access the Federal Reserve payments system and safety net.”

In a letter to Congress, the groups said they “oppose any effort by the OCC to offer a payments charter, particularly one that would ultimately grant these companies access to the Federal Reserve payments system—the most critical part of our country’s financial infrastructure—and its corresponding federal safety net without protecting the financial system and consumers from the concomitant increase in systemic risk.”

ABA urged lawmakers to ensure that any new charters be conducted through an open and deliberative notice and comment process. The association emphasized that “a transparent process is further heightened, given a recent court decision and continuing litigation has raised additional uncertainty around the OCC’s authority to issue such charters.” The groups said Congress should have a role in the deliberations, “including whether a federal money transmitter license that would preempt a patchwork of state licensing laws is practical.”