The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is launching a new Office of Financial Technology early next year in response to the growth of fintech, the agency said Thursday.
The new office will "build on and incorporate" the Office of Innovation, which the agency started in 2016.
"Financial technology is changing rapidly, and bank-fintech partnerships are likely to continue growing in number and complexity," said Michael Hsu, acting comptroller of the currency. "To ensure that the federal banking system is safe, sound, and fair today and well into the future, we need to have a deep understanding of financial technology and the financial technology landscape. The establishment of this office will enable us to be more agile and to promote responsible innovation, consistent with our mission.”
Some progressive senators have been urging the OCC to change its previous guidance, which gives chartered banks the ability to provide crypto custody, hold cash reserves backing stablecoins, and use blockchain and stablecoins to verify bank-to-bank payments. The senators say that the guidance exposes banks to "unnecessary risk."
Meanwhile, more Wall Street firms and large banks are moving further into the use of cryptocurrencies.