From the Regulators

OCC shares its perspective on responsible innovation in the banking sector

By James Langton |

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Thusday published a report for comment on its vision for "responsible innovation" in the banking sector. "This framework is intended to improve how the OCC evaluates innovative products, services, and processes that require regulatory approval and identifies potential risks associated with them," it says.

The paper features eight principles that the agency says will guide the development of its framework for understanding and evaluating innovative products, services, and processes. Among other things, the principles call for the OCC to support responsible innovation, particularly innovations that facilitate access to financial services and fair treatment of consumers; and, to encourage banks of all sizes to integrate responsible innovation into their strategic planning.

In the paper, the OCC seeks feedback on: how to facilitate innovation; how the agency can streamline its processes for evaluating innovations; and how it can promote open dialogue with the industry. It also asks for input on the sorts tools and resources that could help banks innovate.

"At the OCC, we are making certain that institutions with federal charters have a regulatory framework that is receptive to responsible innovation along with the supervision that supports it," says Thomas Curry, Comptroller of the Currency, in a statement.

"Innovation holds much promise. It can help meet the needs of the underserved and provide better financial tools for families. It can help institutions scale operations efficiently, and it can make business and consumer transactions faster and safer. Innovation is not free from risk, but when managed appropriately, risk should not impede progress," he adds.

Comments on the paper are due by May 31, and the OCC plans to host a forum on responsible innovation on June 23 in Washington, D.C.