The Office of the Comptroller of Currency says it will grant fintech companies limited-purpose federal bank charters. With a charter of this nature, fintech companies can roll out products and services nationwide more easily.
“We believe that companies that offer banking products and services should have the choice to become national banks if they wish to do so,” said head of the Currency Comptroller’s office, Thomas Curry at the Georgetown University Law Center. While this marks good news for fintech startups, banks are nervous. The Independent Community Bankers of America expressed concern that new fintech companies would not be as tightly regulated under the charter—giving them a competitive advantage. To that, Curry said this:
“The reality today is that the 4,000 fintech companies out there are already competing with national and state banks, without regard to any of the national bank responsibilities and under a patchwork of supervision. Granting national charters to the companies who desire and warrant one doesn’t weaken the competitive position of existing banks or the dual banking system. In some ways, it levels the playing field because statutes that by their terms apply to national banks would apply to all special purpose national banks, even uninsured ones.”