Should there be national bank charters for “fintech” companies?
Abstract: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is considering issuing special-purpose national bank charters to financial technology (fintech) companies, such as online lenders, payment processors and digital currency firms. Both community banking advocates (concerned about unfair competition) and state banking regulators (who fear their authority will be preempted) have criticized this initiative. This article discusses the pros and cons of these charters. It also suggests that community banks should monitor the OCC’s continuing exploration of charters for fintech companies and evaluate the potential impact on their business strategies.