WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today announced it will establish an office dedicated to responsible innovation and implement a formal framework to improve the agency’s ability to identify, understand, and respond to financial innovation affecting the federal banking system.
“The OCC supports responsible innovation that enhances the safety and soundness of the federal banking system, treats customers fairly, and promotes financial inclusion,” said Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry. “By establishing an Office of Innovation, we are ensuring that institutions with federal charters have a regulatory framework that is receptive to responsible innovation and the supervision that supports it.”
The Office of Innovation will be headed by a Chief Innovation Officer assigned to OCC Headquarters with a small staff located in Washington, New York, and San Francisco. The office will be the central point of contact and clearinghouse for requests and information related to innovation. It will also implement other aspects of the OCC’s framework for responsible innovation, which include
- establishing an outreach and technical assistance program for banks and nonbanks,
- conducting awareness and training activities for OCC staff,
- encouraging coordination and facilitation,
- establishing an innovation research function, and
- promoting interagency collaboration.
The OCC expects the office to begin operations in first quarter 2017. To support implementation of the framework, the agency has named Beth Knickerbocker acting Chief Innovation Officer.
The OCC’s assessment of granting a special purpose national bank charter to nonbank financial technology companies, and under what conditions, continues. The OCC has made no determination regarding chartering of these firms. The agency plans to publish a paper later this year discussing the issues associated with establishing a special purpose charter and seeking comment on the topic.