On May 24, 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the Act). The Act is effective immediately except as otherwise stated in certain provisions.
The Act makes many significant modifications to the postcrisis financial regulatory framework, although it leaves the core of that framework intact.
One major consequence of the Act may be an increased potential for mergers, acquisitions and organic growth among regional and midsize banks, as well as community banks, because of provisions that increase the thresholds that must be met before various financial regulatory requirements apply.
On March 15, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency published a draft supplement to the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual that sets forth details of the OCC’s proposal to accept applications from financial technology companies for special purpose national bank charters. The OCC’s guidance makes clear that it intends to hold fintech companies to the same chartering standards as entities seeking a traditional national bank charter and that there will be no “light-touch” supervision of chartered fintechs. While there may be debate over whether the guidance provides a viable alternative for organizing fintech firms, the OCC’s move signals their desire to modernize their licensing framework to keep pace with an evolving financial services industry. The OCC invites comment on the draft supplement through close of business on April 14, 2017.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has confirmed its intention to explore issuing limited-purpose national bank charters to fintech firms engaged in banking activities — commonly called the “fintech charter.” Earlier this year, the OCC had signaled this possibility. Now, through the release of a policy paper titled “Exploring Special Purpose National Bank Charters for Fintech Companies” (FinTech Paper) and a speech by the Comptroller on Dec. 2, the OCC has taken a more formal step.
On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published a notice of proposed rulemaking and request for public comment (the Proposed Rule) introducing a regulatory regime to govern the receivership of national banks that are not insured (uninsured banks) by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). See OCC, Receiverships for Uninsured National Banks, 81 Fed. Reg. 62,835, 62,835 (Sept. 13, 2016) (the Proposed Rule). While the Proposed Rule would apply to the existing pool of 52 uninsured national trust banks, its broader impact would be to establish a receivership regime that would support the creation of new forms of limited purpose, uninsured banks for the financial technology (FinTech) industry. The Proposed Rule would not apply to uninsured federal branches and agencies of foreign banks under the International Banking Act of 1978. Proposed Rule at 62,838. (more…)
On June 30, 2016, President Obama signed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (the Act). The Act adds provisions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that may assist requesters, as well as lead to increased disclosure. However, business records currently protected by existing interpretations of FOIA exemptions should continue to be protected despite these changes. The flagship change enacts the Obama Administration’s “presumption of openness” by codifying an already-existing executive branch policy that restricts an agency’s discretionary power to withhold documents to situations where disclosure would result in foreseeable harm. Other changes include a 25-year sunset provision for protection of privileged pre-decisional inter- or intra-agency memoranda under exemption 5; procedural changes intended to streamline requests and reduce delay; and increased emphasis on FOIA’s alternative dispute resolution services to assist requesters.