Senate panel leader: OCC to finalize ‘fintech’ charter decision in July

Welcoming the regulator of national banks to testify before his committee Thursday, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee indicated the agency would announce its final plans on a “fintech” charter in July.

In opening remarks, Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) noted that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is expected to announce in July a final decision on a specialty bank charter for financial technology (fintech) companies.

In April, Otting had broadly outlined a timeline for taking various actions, including making a decision on the specialty charter. (A “fintech” is a company offering financial services through technology, such as the Internet.) Otting, at that time, estimated the decision would be made in “two to three months.”

The OCC is considering whether a fintech should be able to apply for a bank-like charter. That license would allow companies offering online lending and other financial services to operate nationally while adhering to federal banking standards.

Crapo’s comment Thursday was among the first indications of when that decision would be coming.

Otting, for his part, mostly reiterated in his Senate testimony Thursday what he told the House Financial Services Committee the day before: the OCC’s priorities for the coming months.

Among those: modernizing community reinvestment requirements; making anti-money laundering compliance more efficient; encouraging banks to meet consumers’ short-term, small-dollar credit needs; simplifying regulatory capital requirements; and reducing regulatory burden related to compliance with the Volcker Rule.

Crapo Statement at OCC Hearing