The OCC is still moving forward with plans to grant Special Purpose National Bank charters to qualifying non-depository financial technology firms, notwithstanding a lawsuit challenging the move from New York state regulators and the threat of additional litigation. In response to a question following her speech at the October 9 Online Lending Policy Institute conference, Grovetta Gardineer, OCC's senior deputy comptroller for compliance and community affairs, said the OCC will accept applications from fintech companies seeking the SPNB charter and intends to grant charters to applicants meeting the criteria. As reported in the October 8 edition of Bank Regulatory News and Trends, the New York State Department of Financial Services filed suit against the OCC, challenging the federal agency's authority to grant the charters. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors also signaled its intention to file suit against OCC over the charters. But Gardineer dismissed the challenges to the agency's authority, saying, "Our ability to grant the charter is not questioned, at least by us."

  • Comptroller Joseph Otting bolstered Gardineer's statements at an October 17 appearance in which he said OCC should be ready to make decisions on approving or declining fintech charter applications by mid-2019. Otting said there are "a number of highly interested institutions" whose representatives are "meeting regularly with our people," and he expects applications to start arriving by the end of this year.
  • The charter plan also received an endorsement from the Treasury Department. Craig Phillips, the Treasury counselor, told a conference in Washington on October 9 that department officials endorse the OCC fintech charters. "We don't think it weakens regulation," Phillips said. "We think it is a format to operate on a national basis effectively. We're anxious to see that move forward."