News Release 2021-3 | January 6, 2021

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Issues Statement on CFPB Task Force Study Regarding Federal Fintech Charters

WASHINGTON — Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks issued the following statement upon release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) task force report (PDF) endorsing the need for federal charters for financial technology (fintech) companies.

The thoughtful report by the task force created by the CFPB concludes that the nation needs federal charters for fintechs to effectively, efficiently, and safely serve the financial needs of consumers across the nation under a single uniform set of rules. We absolutely agree with that conclusion.

Under the law, the agency that grants national charters to companies engaged in lending, payments, or deposit-taking is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which has the responsibility for prudential supervision to ensure these chartered institutions operate in a safe, sound, and fair manner. In its wisdom, Congress in the Dodd-Frank Act separated chartering and prudential supervision from consumer protection enforcement, assigning chartering authority to the OCC and specific consumer protection enforcement authority to the CFPB.

The additional protections implemented following the last financial crisis put two cops on the beat and separated those responsibilities so neither would be compromised in service to the other. That dynamic should be preserved so that the CFPB continues to enforce compliance with enumerated financial consumer protection laws for the financial companies designated by the Dodd-Frank Act, while at the same time avoiding the creation of a prudential supervision gap that could lead to serious safety and soundness risks.

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Bryan Hubbard
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