On Oct. 3, 2018, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued an interagency statement regarding the sharing of Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) resources (“Interagency Statement”). The Interagency Statement is directed at banks, and does not extend to other financial institutions subject to the BSA, such as money services businesses or broker-dealers. For purposes of the Interagency Statement, the term “bank” includes each agent, agency branch or office within the United States of any bank, savings association, credit union or foreign bank (each, a “Bank”).

The Agencies clarified that Banks, particularly those with “a community focus, less complex operations, and lower-risk profiles for money laundering or terrorist financing,” may decide to enter into collaborative arrangements to share resources to manage their BSA and anti-money laundering obligations more efficiently and effectively — although, each Bank that enters into a collaborative arrangement remains individually responsible for ensuring compliance with its obligations under the BSA. Any collaborative arrangement entered into by a Bank must be designed and implemented in accordance with the Bank’s risk profile for money laundering and terrorist financing, subject to oversight by the Bank’s board of directors and periodic evaluation, appropriately documented and supported by a contractual agreement between the participating Banks that sets forth each institution’s rights, responsibilities and procedures for protecting customer data and confidential information.

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On July 31, 2018, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) issued a news release announcing that it will begin accepting special purpose national bank (“SPNB”) charter applications from fintech companies that do not take deposits but are engaged in the business of lending money or paying checks (including the modern equivalent thereof, which the OCC suggests includes issuing debit cards or otherwise facilitating payments electronically). The OCC’s decision was announced shortly after the U.S. Department of the Treasury released an extensive report endorsing SPNB charters for fintech companies. As part of its announcement, the OCC also published a Policy Statement on Financial Technology Companies’ Eligibility to Apply for National Bank Charters as well as a supplement to the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual.

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