Bank charters for FinTech companies have become a point of contention between Congress and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. However, in response to concerns that the OCC is moving too quickly, FinTech attorney Richard Garabedian believes the OCC’s process has been deliberative and is too far along for it to be stopped all together in light of the general support it has gathered.
The OCC took public comment from early December through mid-January on its proposed limited-purpose bank charter for FinTech companies – companies like online lenders and payment processors. Some state regulators, consumer groups and Senate Democrats criticized the charter, and last week 34 House Republicans wrote to Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency, demanding he slow down the process or they would work to overturn any decision the OCC made on the subject.
Garabedian thinks that open and inclusive process that the OCC has conducted through its various solicitations of public comment and the hosting of a public forum late last year support the position of the OCC to continue to move forward. He believes the OCC has the legal authority to grant such charters and that they will be beneficial to the industry and the public. If the OCC does not participate in the development of FinTech providers the industry will move forward without it and not necessarily in a safe and sound manner that would be instilled through the national bank charter.
The OCC has conducted a process that is not dissimilar to a rulemaking, the absence of which has been one of the criticisms, he said.
You can read more about the matter in this American Banker article (subscription required) which also features Garabedian.
Richard Garabedian is based in Womble Carlyle’s Washington, D.C. office where he represents financial industry clients in mergers and acquisitions, as well as regulatory matters. He also advises clients on bank and credit union charter changes, new products and services, de novo bank formations, government assisted acquisitions of failing financial institutions, enforcement matters, corporate governance, stock and mutual holding company formations and mutual-to-stock conversions. Garabedian is also a member of the firm’s FinTech Leadership Team and the Impact Economy Team.