Washington, D.C. (April 12, 2017)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today reiterated its concerns with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s proposal to grant special-purpose bank charters to unregulated financial technology companies. In a comment letter on the agency’s draft regulatory supplement explaining how it plans to apply licensing standards to fintech firms, ICBA again said the OCC should rescind the draft supplement and request specific congressional authorization to grant fintech charters.
“ICBA welcomes a robust discussion on responsible innovation and supports the agency’s
Office of Innovation,” ICBA wrote. “However, ICBA continues to have strong concerns about issuing special purpose national bank (SPNB) charters to fintech companies without spelling out clearly the supervision and regulation that these chartered institutions and their parent companies would be subject to.”
If Congress allows the OCC to move forward, the agency should publish rules subject to public comment and hold outreach meetings on the new category of bank charters, ICBA wrote. Further, the OCC should answer essential questions raised by its white paper and proposed licensing updates, such as how these firms would be supervised as they enter the space now occupied by heavily regulated and intensely scrutinized national banks. The agency should also clarify to what extent it has consulted other state and federal regulators and their role in regulating chartered fintechs, ICBA wrote.
Today’s letter follows an ICBA comment letter issued in January calling on the OCC to spell out its examination and supervision expectations for fintech charters, consult with the other banking agencies, clearly define which companies would be eligible for such a charter, and ensure that any new chartered institution is subject to the same supervision and regulation as required of community banks.
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 5,800 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.