OCC Begins Accepting Applications for FinTech Charters

August 10, 2018

On July 31, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) announced that it would begin accepting applications for a special purpose national bank charter (“FinTech Charter”) from nonbank financial technology companies that offer bank products and services, meet the OCC’s chartering requirements (the “FinTech Charter Policy Statement”) and adhere to the OCC’s supplemental Licensing Manual (the “Comptroller’s Manual Supplement” or the “Supplement”).

Hours earlier, the Treasury Department released its fourth and final report in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13772.  The report, entitled “A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities: Nonbank Financials, Fintech, and Innovation”, recommends that the OCC move forward with the FinTech Charter.   

While the OCC announced it would begin accepting applications, it did not answer some key questions about the new FinTech Charter.  Among those questions is what businesses will be permissible in the FinTech Charter?  Neither the OCC’s statement nor the Comptroller’s Manual Supplement defined the permissible businesses for FinTech Charters.  Follow-up discussions have confirmed that payments and other similar businesses are considered in scope, but that no final decision has been made by the OCC on whether the new FinTech Charter will be available for virtual currency-focused businesses.