The End of National Bank Regulation as We Know It
In a series of sometimes blistering comments and commentaries, Acting Comptroller Brooks has made it very, very clear that he plans to put a high-tech stamp on the national-banking charter for as long as he holds the OCC’s seal.  Many think that Mr. Brooks’ goals are principally a renewed fintech charter, a new payment charter, and a very buff national-bank construct.  However, comments to Politico show a still more ambitious and even more structural goal: redefining federal banking regulation from one focused on entities to one governing activities.  The charters under the OCC’s purview would then become little more than umbrellas in which a wide range of activities are conducted in accordance with standards specific to each one, not to national banks as a whole.  This is an even more radical redesign of the federal framework than most commentators have contemplated, for it’s a revolutionary idea.  Like most revolutions, it would change the landscape permanently even if a subsequent Comptroller foments a restoration.