An Update on the Status of National Bank Charters for Fintechs

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Mercator Advisory Group warns that the controversial OCC initiative to consider fintech applications for special purpose national bank charters could be stalling.

The OCC made a bold move in seeming recognition that financial services is rapidly changing assuming that fintechs may wish to be regulated like any other national bank.

In December 2016, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the primary U.S. regulator for national banks, signaled its intention to consider applications from financial technology companies (fintechs) for charters as special purpose national banks. After reviewing public commentary, in March 2017 the OCC published a draft licensing guide for evaluating these applications. This aggressive initiative seems to underscore the recognition of a rapidly changing financial services landscape. Headwinds have developed, however.

In a new ForeSight report, Mercator Advisory Group reviews underlying reasons for the OCC’s decision, discusses the implications of the draft licensing manual, and addresses new developments that may jeopardize the full rollout of the initiative.

Download this complimentary ForeSight report, Fintechs Now Can Apply for National Bank Charters: Update—Has the Train Stalled?, for free.

"The OCC made a bold move in seeming recognition that financial services is rapidly changing assuming that fintechs may wish to be regulated like any other national bank. The initiative was championed by then Comptroller Thomas J. Curry, however, who left office in early May, and his permanent replacement may have a different view,” commented Steve Murphy, Director of Mercator Advisory Group’s Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service, author of the report. “State regulators have been primary objectors to the OCC’s move, and in April filed a lawsuit that challenges the federal regulator’s authority to implement this particular form of national bank charter.”

Highlights of the ForeSight report include:

  • Implications of the OCC initiative and subsequent draft licensing guide
  • The complicated U.S regulatory structure and bank chartering process
  • Updated developments and their potential for interrupting rollout

The document is 9 pages long and contains 1 exhibit.

Members of Mercator Advisory Group's Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service have access to this report as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access, and other membership benefits.

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About Mercator Advisory Group
Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world's largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors. Mercator Advisory Group is also the publisher of the online payments and banking news and information portal

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Karen Yetter
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