On March 15, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued further guidance regarding how it will evaluate applications by fintech companies to become Special Purpose National Banks (SPNBs). In its release, the OCC summarized the more than 100 comments it received in response to its December 2016 white paper and provided a draft supplement to the OCC Licensing Manual outlining proposed requirements for fintech companies to become SPNBs.
Last week’s release is the latest in the OCC’s efforts to support the intersection between banking and technology companies. In August 2015, Comptroller Thomas Curry announced the OCC’s intent to assemble a team of policy experts, examiners, attorneys, and other agency staff to begin researching innovative developments in the financial services industry. In March 2016, the OCC published a summary of its initial research and plans to guide the development of responsible financial innovation. In September 2016, the OCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking clarifying the framework and process for receiverships of national banks without FDIC-insured deposits. That proposal applied to all non-depository national banks, including those with special purpose national bank charters. In October 2016, the OCC detailed its plans to implement a responsible innovation framework and announced the establishment of the Office of Innovation, a dedicated, central point of contact for fintech companies as well as requests and information related to innovation. Finally in December 2016, the OCC published a white paper announcing its intent to create a SPNB charter for fintech companies and invited comments and posed discrete questions for consideration regarding the proposals.
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