On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, the “Agencies”) invited public comment on proposed interagency guidance on managing risks associated with third-party relationships (the “Proposed Guidance”). By harmonizing for the first time the

On June 3, 2021, in Lacewell v. OCC, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the “Second Circuit”) dismissed the New York State Department of Financial Services’ (“DFS”) lawsuit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”). DFS challenged the OCC’s decision to commence accepting applications for special-purpose national bank (“SPNB”) charters from financial technology companies (“fintechs”) that do not accept deposits. The Second Circuit ultimately decided the case on justiciability grounds, holding that DFS lacked standing and that its claims were constitutionally unripe without reaching the merits of DFS’s claims.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Rejects New York State Department of Financial Services’ Lawsuit Against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

On Monday, May 17, 2021, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) issued a request for information and comment (“RFI”) regarding the current and potential digital asset activities of insured depository institutions (“IDIs”).  The RFI is intended to inform the FDIC’s understanding of digital asset activities, including associated risk and compliance management issues.  Comments on the RFI are due by July 16, 2021.

The RFI categorizes digital asset activities into five use cases and solicits comments based on this framework.  The five use cases are (i) technology solutions, such as token-based systems and distributed ledgers; (ii) asset-based activities, such as investments and margin lending; (iii) liability-based activities, such as deposit services and reserves; (iv) custodial services; and (v) other activities, which could include market-making and decentralized financing.  The RFI requests comment on whether additional use cases should be included within this framework and which use cases have the greatest demand in the marketplace.  The RFI also requests that commenters provide more detailed information about the use cases that IDIs currently conduct or are considering conducting.


Continue Reading FDIC Issues Request for Information on Digital Assets

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Federal Reserve”) issued a notice requesting public comment on proposed guidelines articulating a series of principles to be used by Federal Reserve Banks in evaluating requests for Reserve Bank master accounts and payment services (the “Proposed Guidelines”). The Federal Reserve intends

On November 30, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) granted a no-action letter (“NAL” or “Letter”) to Upstart Network, Inc. (“Upstart”), a company that that has developed a model incorporating alternative data and machine learning for use in making credit underwriting and pricing decisions.  The NAL specifically addresses Upstart’s “automated model for making underwriting and pricing decisions with respect to applications by consumers for unsecured, closed-end loans.”  Under the terms of the NAL, the Bureau will not make supervisory findings or bring an enforcement action against Upstart under certain sections of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B or under the Bureau’s authority to prevent, unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (“UDAAPs”) concerning alleged discrimination on a prohibited basis arising from Upstart’s use of its model for making underwriting and pricing decisions on applications by consumers for unsecured, closed-end loans.  The CFPB updated its NAL Policy last year, and this Letter was issued consistent with those guidelines.  The NAL expires three years after the date of the Letter.  The NAL represents another step forward toward regulatory acceptance of the use of alternative data and machine learning models for credit underwriting.

Continue Reading The CFPB Issues Second No Action Letter to Facilitate the Use of Alternative Data and Machine Learning in Lending Decisions

On September 21, 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) published a letter addressing the authority of nationals banks to hold deposits that serve as reserves for stablecoins, which is a type of cryptocurrency designed to have a stable value. The OCC concludes that national banks and federal savings associations may engage in certain stablecoin activities as described in the letter.
Continue Reading OCC Issues Guidance on National Banks and Stablecoin Activities

Today, the OCC released an interpretive letter concluding that national banks and federal savings associations (together, “banks”) may permissibly provide cryptocurrency custody services for customers.  The letter, written by Chief Counsel Jonathan Gould, describes custody of cryptocurrency as a modern form of the traditional banking activity of providing safekeeping and custody services, which the agency has previously permitted banks to conduct through electronic means.  The letter also “reaffirms the OCC’s position that national banks may provide permissible banking services to any lawful business they choose, including cryptocurrency businesses, so long as they effectively manage the risks and comply with applicable law.”

Continue Reading OCC Interpretation Paves Way for Banks to Custody Cryptocurrency

On April 3, 2020, the European Commission launched two public consultations on a new digital finance strategy for Europe and on a retail payment strategy for Europe, which will both run until July 15, 2020.  The consultations follow two other consultations on an EU framework for markets in crypto-assets and on a potential initiative on digital operational resilience in the area of financial services, both launched in December 2019.  The efforts are part of the larger Commission’s Digital Finance Outreach 2020 to prepare the new digital finance strategy.  However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most events have either been cancelled or postponed.  An overview of upcoming events, such as DG FISMA’s online roundtables and other national events, is available here.
Continue Reading European Commission Launches Key Consultations Regarding Digital Finance

On February 26, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hosted a symposium titled “Consumer Access to Financial Records.”  Video of the Symposium is available here.  The agenda included discussion among panelists from large financial institutions, fintechs, consumer groups, policy centers, and the CFPB.  Director Kathleen L. Kraninger also delivered brief opening remarks describing the history of regulation of financial data access.

Much of the symposium’s discussion focused on Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which governs consumers’ rights to access their financial data.  While the CFPB has the authority to issue rules interpreting Section 1033, it has not done so (although it has issued non-binding “Consumer Protection Principles” on financial data sharing and aggregation).


Continue Reading CFPB Hosts Symposium on Consumer Access to Financial Records