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Banking Regulator to Allow FinTech Firms to Apply for Special Purpose Charters

In a recent speech, Thomas Curry, chief of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said that the OCC will move forward with chartering financial technology companies that offer bank products and services, subject to certain requirements. Curry said that FinTech companies, while not without some risks, can potentially deliver certain financial products and services in a safer and more efficient manner. He noted that FinTech companies should have the choice to become national banks if they wish to do so and emphasized that there is no requirement for such companies to seek a charter. In conjunction with Curry’s speech, the OCC released a paper that describes the OCC’s legal authority to grant the special purpose charter, and articulates the necessary conditions if the OCC is to exercise that authority. The agency is seeking public comments on its proposal by January 15, 2017.