Article: OCC chief sparks concern by signaling openness to redefining what a bank is

From Politico Pro [Subscription Required]:

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika suggested that he would be open to re-examining the division between commercial and banking activities, sparking concern among regulators and smaller lenders.

Though Noreika indicated he would move ahead with the limited charter designed for fintech firms to compete nationally with banks, it’s unclear how long he’ll hold the office. The nominee to succeed him as comptroller, Joseph Otting, will testify before the Senate Banking Committee next week, so his confirmation vote may not be far off.

CSBS President and CEO John Ryan responded to Noreika’s speech:

Representatives for the group of regulators suing the OCC over its fintech effort, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, were also present for Noreika’s remarks and opposed them.

“We need to be especially careful about how broadly we define what a bank is,” said John Ryan, president of the group.

The ICBA also expressed some concerns:

“That’s a big concern to us,” said Chris Cole, executive vice president and senior regulatory counsel to the Independent Community Bankers of America. “Also the fact that the OCC is so determined to go ahead with this is concerning to us too. We think that they ought to go back to Congress and get statutory approval because we just don’t think that the statutory approval is broad enough.”