Over the past decade, there's been an explosion of Silicon Valley start-ups and technology companies that act like banks. Now, a key US regulator is inviting them to be regulated more like traditional lenders.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said on Friday it plans to start accepting applications from fintech companies for a special charter that would formally subject them to federal banking rules. Companies that become chartered will get the benefits of being an established company in the eyes of the government. But they will also face anti-money laundering controls and consumer protections that apply to other lenders, the OCC said. "Preferences and needs of consumers, communities, and business are changing," Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said in prepared remarks at Georgetown University Law Centre on Friday. "Providing a national charter to those responsible innovators who seek one and meet our high standards can help promote economic growth across the country and recognises that technology-based products and services are the future of banking and the economy."