WASHINGTON Dec 2 Online credit companies and
paperless lenders may seek a federal charter to do their
business nationwide under a plan outlined on Friday by a U.S.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the main
regulator for federal banks, said it hoped offering a charter
for "fintech" companies would spur innovation in the banking
"Technology-based products and services are the future of
banking and the economy," OCC director Thomas Curry said in a
speech outlining the proposal.
The move might change the regulatory landscape for online
lenders such as On Deck, Kabbage Inc. and Quicken Loans.
The OCC will allow fintech companies to operate nationally
through a "special purpose charter" that has been used in the
past to license credit card companies.
Curry said his agency is open to discussing specific terms
of what a charter would entail.
Because they do not accept customer deposits, fintech
companies are not subject to many federal banking laws. The
businesses often operate under licenses from individual states.
On Friday, Curry said the hand-tailored charters for fintech
companies would expect those lenders to reach underserved
communities and uphold consumer protections.
Online lenders have encroached on traditional banking
services in recent years with lower overhead and less paperwork.
Curry said worldwide investment in the fintech industry has
grown in the past five years to $24 billion from $1.8 billion.
(Reporting By Patrick Rucker; Editing by Bill Trott)