The OCC announced that its Office of Innovation will host office hours for national banks, federal savings associations, and financial technology (fintech) companies from July 24 through July 26, 2017 at the OCC’s district office in New York City. According to the OCC, the office hours are intended to “provide an opportunity for meetings with OCC officials to discuss financial technology, new products or services, partnering with a bank or fintech company, or other matters related to financial innovation.”
The OCC stated that its staff “will provide feedback and respond to questions” and that each meeting will be no longer than one hour. Persons wishing to meet with the OCC can request a meeting through July 5 and are expected to indicate the reason for their interest in having the meeting. The OCC plans to hold office hours in other cities at later dates. (An initial round of office hours meetings took place in San Francisco last month.)
Last October, the OCC announced that it was creating the Office of Innovation to serve as an office dedicated to responsible innovation and to implement a formal framework to improve the agency’s ability to identify, understand, and respond to financial innovation affecting the federal banking system. The announcement followed the OCC’s release last spring of a white paper, “Supporting Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System: An OCC Perspective.” The white paper was part of an initiative announced by former Comptroller Thomas J. Curry in August 2015 to develop a comprehensive framework to improve the OCC’s ability to understand innovation in the financial services industry, and to help national banks and federal savings associations in the face of increasing competition from fintech companies. In December 2016, the OCC announced its proposal to allow fintech companies to apply for special purpose national bank (SPNB) charters and, in March 2017, it issued a draft supplement to its existing Licensing Manual for SPNB charters as well as its responses to comments received on its SPNB charter proposal.
It is unclear whether the latest office hours announcement can be read as an indication of continuing OCC support for the SPNB charter proposal following Mr. Curry’s departure. Last month, Keith Noreika was appointed by President Trump to serve as Deputy Comptroller and began serving as Acting Comptroller on May 5. It has since been widely reported that President Trump will nominate Joseph Otting to replace Mr. Curry as Comptroller. Neither Mr. Noreika or Mr. Otting is known to have yet taken a public position with respect to the SPNB charter.