The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)1 seeking input on how best to accommodate new technology and innovation in the business of banking, in connection with the OCC’s “comprehensive review” of its regulations at 12 C.F.R. part 7, subpart E (national banks), and part 155 (federal savings associations) (collectively, Rules). The ANPR offers industry participants an opportunity to shape future guidance and remove regulatory burdens to offering innovative new products, partnering with technology companies and enhancing operations through deployment of new technologies. The ANPR follows on the heels of regulators’ other efforts to address technological developments,2 with the caveat that the OCC is not seeking comment on authority to issue special purpose national bank charters.
After recounting some of the ways in which past guidance has addressed innovation (e.g., electronic payments, check capture and online banking), the OCC lists some of the new technologies, the implementation of which may be hindered by ambiguous, burdensome or inflexible rules, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, biometrics, cloud computing and big data/analytics. The OCC also notes that national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, Banks) must compete with technology companies, while acknowledging the growing importance of mutually beneficial relationships between Banks and technology companies.
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