Knotty by Nature: You Down with the OCC?

The US regulator of national banks and federal savings associations (the OCC) has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking public comment on the digital activities of those banking entities. Among other things, it is asking whether the current regulations are fit for purpose. The findings are likely to influence the direction of rule-making efforts in this area. Interested parties are invited to comment by August 3, 2020.

OCC Notice

The US regulator of national banks and federal savings associations, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking public comment on the digital activities of those banking entities. An ANPR is typically a precursor to a formal proposal of one or more rules. That is, issuing an ANPR is a tacit acknowledgment that the OCC is seeking a broader steer on policy before turning toward specific rule-making efforts.

Issues open for comment

The OCC generally seeks input on Title 12, Part 7, Subpart E and Part 155 of the Code of Federal Regulations, both of which regulate the electronic operations and activities of OCC-regulated banks. In particular, the OCC asks, among other questions:

  • Do the current regulations work?
  • Are they flexible and clear?
  • Do they hinder innovation and technological advancements in the banking industry?
  • Are they incomplete?
  • What types of cryptocurrency or other digital asset activities are being engaged in and what barriers are present that currently hinder their development?
  • How are distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence being used?
  • What new payment technologies and innovation tools for compliance have been developed?
Next steps

The best way to predict the future is to create it. Interested parties should view this as the best and earliest opportunity to influence the OCC’s thinking on these matters. Comments are due by August 3, 2020.