ICBA backs legal challenge to OCC fintech charter

ICBA filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the New York Department of Financial Services lawsuit challenging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's special-purpose national bank charter for fintech companies.

In its amicus brief, ICBA said the National Bank Act does not authorize the OCC to charter special-purpose national banks that don’t take deposits. Therefore, the OCC’s policy of chartering nonbanks is inconsistent with the purpose and language of the law.

Further, ICBA said, the OCC is not eligible in this case for the "Chevron doctrine," which grants considerable rulemaking discretion to regulatory agencies, because its policy is a radical departure from 160 years of National Bank Act interpretation.

ICBA's brief follows a federal judge's October 2019 ruling that the OCC lacks the authority to grant bank charters to non-depositories, which the OCC is appealing.