digital banking activities

A new Payments Charter could enable entities to engage in payments-related activities on a nationwide basis, rather than by state.

By Alan W. Avery, Todd Beauchamp, Pia Naib, Loyal T. Horsley, and Charles Weinstein

The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) newly appointed Acting Comptroller, Brian P. Brooks, is already advancing the agency’s fintech-focused modernization initiatives and taking steps to fulfill his promise to support technological innovation in the banking industry. On June 25, 2020, while speaking on the American Bankers Association’s podcast, Brooks announced that the OCC will introduce a new Payments Charter 1.0 (Payments Charter) this fall that will serve as a federal alternative to obtaining state money transmitter licenses. That announcement came less than a month after the OCC issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) requesting public comment regarding the OCC’s regulations relating to “digital activities” of national banks and federal savings associations (FSAs). The ANPR was issued in an effort to ensure that such regulations continue to evolve with industry developments. Comments in response to the ANPR are due August 3, 2020.