Morning Consult: OCC, FDIC plan “true lender” rule in aggressive fintech agenda

Acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks has set the tone for how he wants to leave a fintech-focused mark on the agency.

Brooks has laid out an aggressive agenda to remake financial technology policy, touching everything from fintech bank charters to cryptocurrency. In an interview with Morning Consult, Brooks said he expects to propose a new rule in a key piece of fintech lending policy called “true lender” in as little as two weeks, and has staked a claim on the OCC’s role in bank charters for fintech companies.

A rule on the true lender doctrine would clarify when a bank is the actual lender on a loan, or when another party such as a fintech firm is. The rule could have huge consequences for fintech companies, which have created complicated partnerships with banks that have in some cases allowed them to avoid states’ interest rate limits on online lenders.

Brooks plans to move quickly on this rule, with a proposal expected in two to four weeks, most likely on the shorter end of that time frame. Federal Deposit Insurance chair Jelena McWilliams previously told Morning Consult that her agency is working on the rule, as well.

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