Federal Judge Rules the OCC Lacks Authority to Issue Fintech Bank Charters

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero approved a final judgment in favor of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) that sets aside the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) special-purpose chartering regulation for certain non-depository fintech applicants seeking a limited-service national bank charter (the Fintech Charter).

The OCC has claimed authority to issue Fintech Charters through (i) its leeway to interpret the term “business of banking” under the National Bank Act; (ii) its authority to issue limited purpose national charters under 5 C.F.R. § 5.20(e)(1)(i); and (iii) its authority to interpret the term “business of banking” in such a way that it can grant a special-purpose banking charter to a company that is engaged in any one of the three core banking functions: receiving deposits, paying checks, or lending money. Given its interpretation of its authority, the OCC did not go through the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) rulemaking process when initiating the Fintech Charter process.


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