With ‘Innovation Pilot,’ bank regulator will test novel activities – those, it says, that benefit consumers, business

An “Innovation Pilot Program” that will test novel or innovative products, services, processes and other activities by financial institutions was unveiled Tuesday by the regulator of national banks.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said that the program – which the agency said builds on its other innovation initiatives so far – will emphasize activities that “could present significant opportunity or benefits to consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and communities.” The agency also said the program will foster development of appropriate controls and safeguards as “those activities scale.”

In a release, the OCC said entities eligible for the proposed program would be OCC-supervised financial institutions, including those engaging a third party to offer the product, service, or process. The agency said entities may propose a pilot individually or as a collaborative effort, such as a consortium or utility.

A 45-day comment period was also opened by the agency over the program. Among other things, the OCC is asking for comment on the perceived value of the program, eligibility criteria and evaluation, types of “innovative activities” best served by the program, and the preferred nature of regulatory engagement in the program.

OCC Innovation Pilot Program