The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on May 23 issued guidance encouraging banks to re-enter the short-term, small-dollar loan markets – typically ranging between $300 and $5,000 and running 2 to 12 months in duration – to help meet the credit needs of their customers. In addition, as long as they follow sound risk management practices, banks may lend to consumers with weaker credit histories but who have the ability to repay. Comptroller Joseph Otting stressed that this area is an important space for banks to play a role in providing safer, fairer and more affordable choices for consumers. "Bank-offered products can help lead consumers to more mainstream financial services without trapping them in cycles of debt. When banks offer products with reasonable pricing and repayment terms, consumers also benefit from other services that banks regularly provide, such as financial education and credit reporting." Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (formerly known as the CFPB) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney praised the OCC's move, saying it was consistent with his agency's efforts to expand consumer choice.
More details are available in the OCC bulletin Core Lending Principles for Short-Term, Small-Dollar Installment Lending.