How far can ‘challenger’ banks ride FinTech charters?

Fintech, despite all the hand-wringing in recent years, isn’t a full competitive threat to banks — yet. For example, fintech companies that have become accomplished consumer lenders are limited in their ability to take deposits or offer wealth management services. But now that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has proposed a limited-purpose bank charter for fintechs, they could provide more products and services without the help of bank partners. Will digital startups finally be able to compete head-to-head with banks? It is difficult to predict exactly what will happen since the charter is still in the works, and the OCC declined to speculate further on the nature of the charter ahead of the Jan. 15 deadline for public comment. Read more: