Such a charter is something we’ve been advocating for some time. In a speech on Tuesday, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry didn’t say let on what the OCC was thinking about limited-purpose charters (say, for digital currency exchanges), but he did say that the agency would finalize an innovation framework this fall. More importantly, that same day the OCC issued a proposed regulation “setting forth a framework for placing uninsured national banks into receivership.” From the release:
While the OCC has not appointed a receiver for an uninsured national bank in many years, clarifying the framework, process, and authority promotes the orderly resolution of such institutions if required and contributes to the broader stability of the federal banking system.
“The OCC has a long history of working successfully to restore strength and viability to institutions that face difficulty,” Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry said. “In the event those efforts fail and receivership becomes necessary, a clear and efficient process of resolving failing uninsured national banks is in everyone’s best interest.”
The proposed rule would apply to all uninsured national banks regulated by the OCC. While the National Bank Act and Federal Deposit Insurance Act specify the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver for insured banks and savings associations, the law grants the Comptroller broad authority to choose a receiver for uninsured national banks.
What’s notable about this is that any limited-purpose charter that would be granted to digital currency firms would not be federally insured. In the notice, the OCC specifically asked for comment on “the utility of the receivership structure in the proposed rule for receivership of a special purpose bank.” It’s a bit wonky, but with this proposed rulemaking the OCC may be setting the stage for creating the kind fintech charter that would benefit digital currency firms. It’s a great sign, and you can bet Coin Center will be filing comments in this proceeding.