The undersigned trade associations1 represent banks and credit unions that make up a wide cross-spectrum of the U.S. banking system (together, the “Associations”) appreciate the opportunity to comment on the application by Figure Bank, National Association, Reno, Nevada (“Applicant”) for a national bank charter submitted to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on November 6, 2020. Given the significant policy, legal, systemic, and other implications that chartering an organization like Applicant, with its unique business model and structure, would have for the banking system, the Associations urge the OCC to postpone its consideration of Figure Bank’s application until after it has solicited and evaluated public comments, and consulted with Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Department of Justice.
As a threshold matter, the precedent-shattering approach of granting a national bank charter to an institution that accepts only uninsured deposits would violate the Federal law, the consistently expressed intent of Congress, and public policy considerations essential to the functioning of the nation’s financial system. Conversely, approving a national bank charter for such an institution would provide a new pathway to evade the comprehensive regulatory regime established by Congress for banks and their affiliates.
In addition, the descriptions of the bank’s business plan and proposed activities contained in the public portions of the charter application do not provide sufficient information to allow interested parties to thoroughly evaluate or consider this aspect of the application. Some details regarding Applicant’s proposed bank operations have been shared only in public statements made by officials of Applicant, but this information should have been included in the public portion of the application in order to preserve the transparency of the OCC’s charter application review process. The lack of information in the public portion of the application about the key aspects of Applicant’s business model and proposed operations raises significant process concerns, and granting this charter would represent a fundamental departure from existing policy by the OCC.
1 Please see Annex for a description of the Associations.
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