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Comptroller Otting testifies before Congress

In his first congressional testimony since taking office, Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting last week answered questions about the forthcoming fintech charter, lending requirements in the Community Reinvestment Act, small-dollar lending, BSA/AML changes, and findings from a horizontal review on opening unauthorized accounts. 

American Banker’s Rachel Witkowski defined six key take-aways:

  • Otting's dismissal of discrimination concerns in banking angers Democrats
  • CRA changes are taking some time
  • Otting faces heat for not disclosing Wells-like problems at other banks
  • Fintech decision is coming
  • Regulators closer to easing anti-money-laundering rules
  • Small-dollar, short-term lending

At the House Financial Services hearing on June 12, several committee members asked Otting if he plans to allow fintech companies to receive a special-purpose banking charter.

Otting repeated his earlier statements that a decision would be announced in July. He also asserted that fintech companies would be subject to the same supervision as national banks and that the OCC has the resources and expertise to supervise such companies.

The comptroller described for the committee some state efforts to build coalitions to streamline bank and money services business regulation and licensing.

Many of the committee members’ questions revealed bipartisan support for a national fintech charter within the OCC or another federal regulator.

A prominent Republican member focused on fintech lending and assumed that a fintech charter would require Congress to grant additional authority to the OCC or another agency, namely CFPB, to implement.

Multiple members of the Congressional Black Caucus talked about the special purpose charter advancing inclusion for financially underserved communities. One member asked about the status of CSBS and New York lawsuits, and, pointing to state regulators’ objections to the proposed charter, he insisted that state bank regulator concerns must be addressed.

CSBS will continue to monitor Comptroller Otting’s statements and the OCC’s decision on a special purpose charter for non-banks.  

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