Cordray, Curry Speak Out at Industry Conference

March 6, 2017

On Monday, March 6, 2017, CFPB Director Richard Cordray and Comptroller of the Currency Tom Curry addressed the LendIt USA conference in New York, NY, discussing recent trends and innovations in consumer financial services.

 

Director Cordray spoke about the need for evenhanded oversight of all providers of consumer financial products and services, whether large banks or fintech startups, in addition to reiterating the need for all providers to ensure consumer protections are built into emerging products and services from the start. While Director Cordray touted the ways new and innovative data sources are changing consumer money management and planning, he urged caution about potential risks. The Director concluded by referencing the Bureau’s recent request for information (RFI) exploring the use of alternative data sources to improve consumer access to credit.  The RFI is part of the agency’s effort to better serve the estimated 26 million Americans deemed “credit invisible,” meaning those left out of the traditional credit risk system.

 

Comptroller Curry addressed issues raised regarding the OCC’s fintech charter, stating the National Bank Act does give the OCC legal authority to grant national bank charters to fintech companies. He dismissed the notion the OCC would be ill-equipped to regulate fintech companies, countering the OCC employs a plethora of qualified individuals, and already effectively has supervised banks rolling out new and innovative products. The Comptroller refuted claims the fintech charter was a form of “light-touch supervision” of fintech companies, stating the charters would put fintech companies under the same stringent standards and liquidity requirements as national banks.  Comptroller Curry indicated any applications seeking to comingle commerce and banking would be rejected to appropriately keep the two separate.