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An obscure regulatory debate has put the entire U.S. fintech community on edge

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Originally @ TechCrunch

The future of American fintech may hang in the balance of a pitched battle that has grown in intensity over the past four months. An obscure request for comments on regulatory standards, released by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) last March, has since evolved into a complex turf war between the states and Washington, DC. Caught in the middle is the entire online finance industry, raising the question of just what a “fintech” business really is. Though it hasn’t made many national headlines, this fight may determine the future of innovation, competition and survival in the fintech world. The debate centers around a proposal made in December by Thomas J. Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, in which the OCC details a program for fintech companies to apply for charters as “special purpose national banks.” The charter, which is optional for fintechs, is meant to provide companies with a stamp of approval from the OCC for having generally strong…