On January 30, 2018 at 10 a.m., the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing, “Examining Opportunities and Challenges in the Financial Technology (“Fintech”) Marketplace.”

The Committee Memorandum states that the hearing “will examine the current regulatory landscape [for fintech], the need to amend or modernize the regulatory landscape or the necessity to amend existing financial laws or develop new legislative proposals that would allow financial services entities to use fintech to deliver new products and services to consumers.”

We find it surprising that neither Joseph Otting, the new Comptroller of the Currency, nor any other federal or state regulator, is slated to testify.  Mr. Otting has not yet taken a public position on the OCC’s proposal to issue special purpose national bank charters to companies that make loans but do not accept deposits.  However, two Ballard attorneys recently authored an article, “Predicting Comptroller Otting’s Impact on Fintech,” in which they expressed the view that he is likely to be supportive of such charters.

Jelena McWilliams, President Trump’s nominee for FDIC chair, is reported to have told Senators in her confirmation hearing last week that she did not believe the FDIC’s grant of industrial loan company charters to fintech and other nonbank firms would pose a safety and soundness risk for the broader financial system and intended to look into why the FDIC has delayed its review of applications for such charters.  Ms. McWilliams is also reported to have said that her position on moving quickly on those reviews should be seen as an invitation for more such charter applications.