The Federal Reserve Board on Friday issued a policy statement to promote a level playing field for all banks with a federal supervisor, regardless of deposit insurance status. The statement makes clear that uninsured and insured banks supervised by the Board will be subject to the same limitations on activities, including novel banking activities, such as crypto-asset-related activities.
The statement also makes clear that uninsured and insured banks supervised by the Board would be subject to the limitations on certain activities imposed on national banks, which are overseen by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The equal treatment will promote a level playing field and limit regulatory arbitrage.
In addition, the statement reiterates that banks must both ensure that the activities they engage in are allowed under the law, and conduct their business in a safe and sound manner. For instance, a bank should have in place risk management processes, internal controls, and information systems that are appropriate and adequate for the nature, scope, and risks of its activities.
In recent years, the Board has received a number of inquiries, notifications, and proposals from banks regarding potential engagement in novel and unprecedented activities, including those involving crypto-assets. In response, the Board’s statement specifies how it will evaluate such inquiries, consistent with longstanding practice. Today’s action would not prohibit a state member bank, or prospective applicant, from providing safekeeping services, in a custodial capacity, for crypto-assets if conducted in a safe and sound manner and in compliance with consumer, anti-money laundering, and anti-terrorist financing laws.
The statement is effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
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- Board Memo: Policy Statement on Section 9(13) of the Federal Reserve Act
- Federal Register Notice: Policy Statement on Section 9(13) of the Federal Reserve Act