In the U.S., in late 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) began considering applications from FinTech companies to obtain licenses as Special Purpose National Banks (SPNB). This move was a result of a FinTech whitepaper that suggested obtaining multiple state licenses could inhibit FinTech development and that institutions with federal charters required a regulatory framework. Following this, the OCC published draft procedures for licensing and application requirements for a FinTech charter in 2017. In 2017 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) approved six de novo bank (new bank) applications, but none was granted to FinTech firms. Further, the constituent states of the U.S., realizing that licensing requirements could inhibit FinTech development, announced Vision 2020, which focuses on increased harmonization and uniformity of licensing, regulations and examinations across states.
The ECB has launched two draft guides outlining requirements and qualifications for how FinTech entities can become banks and obtain a banking license. The consultation period ran from 21 September 2017 to 2 November 2017 and the ECB is studying the feedback.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has begun a review of the guidelines to authorize virtual banks, defined as those which deliver banking services only through electronic channels. The initiative has been taken as part of the seven measures announced by HKMA in 2017 called the New Era in Smart Banking project. HKMA has received 10 enquiries from local and overseas firms for establishing a virtual bank and the Authority started issuing the licenses from early 2018. More than 50 companies from across the world, including Standard Chartered Bank, have expressed an interest in obtaining virtual bank licenses and the HKMA set 31 August 2018 as a deadline for receiving applications for the first batch of licenses.