Office of Financial Technology opens at OCC, with new leader, to bolster ability to deal with tech changes at banks

A new Office of Financial Technology, as well as the leader of that new department, was announced Thursday by the regulator of national banks.

The new office, which the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said last fall is aimed at bolstering the agency’s expertise and ability to adapt to technological change in the banking industry, will be led by Prashant Bhardwaj. The OCC said he has nearly 30 years’ experience “serving in a variety of roles across the financial sector.”

According to the agency, the Financial Technology office “broadens the OCC’s focus in this area and ensures the agency’s leadership and agility in providing high-quality supervision of bank-fintech partnerships. It further enhances the agency’s knowledge and expertise of financial technology platforms and applications in support of the OCC’s mission.”

The agency said it expects that the new department will enhance the OCC’s expertise on matters regarding digital assets, fintech partnerships, “and other changing technologies and business models within and that affect OCC-supervised banks.”

Under Bhardwaj’s leadership, as deputy comptroller and chief financial technology officer, the OCC said the FT office staff will be responsible for “analysis, evaluation, and discussion of relevant trends in financial technology, emerging and potential risks, and the potential implications for OCC supervision.”

The OCC said Bhardwaj holds a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in business administration from the International Management Institute Universiade de Brussels.

OCC Establishes Office of Financial Technology