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Fed Hesitance May Hinder Advance of Some Fintech Firms

A Reuters  report on the growth of fintech firms highlights obstacles keeping them from the financial mainstream. The OCC and FDIC last year approved a special banking charter that will allow fintech firms to operate nationally subject to certain conditions. However, the Federal Reserve has balked at fintech firms gaining access to the national financial infrastructure, and the special charter limits these firms from accessing the payments and settlement systems overseen by the Fed. According to Reuters, Fed officials stated concerns about the risk management controls and consumer protections in place at fintech firms. The firms as a result are reluctant to invest in nationwide expansion without access to these Fed tools. Reuters further reports that regulators expect to award the first national license under the new charter early this year. A report in Roll Call noted that the extended government shutdown may hurt fintech firms seeking to raise cash or launch IPOs. However, the Fed and FDIC are continuing to operate normally.