WASHINGTON The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed a rule Monday aimed at making it easier for national banks to engage in electronic activities.
The agency will accept comments until Aug. 31 on the proposal, which would establish four criteria for determining whether an activity would be allowed: whether the activity a logical outgrowth of a recognized banking activity, strengthens the bank by benefiting customers and its business, presents a risk that banks have experience managing, and is permissible for state-chartered banks?
The OCC said it is especially interested in opinions about the risks involved in authorizing banks to issue digital certificates and to what extent banks intend to use that authority.
The proposal would also update rules authorizing national banks to act as finders, and codify that so-called finder services are part of the banking business.
For example, banks could communicate information about products and services to buyers and sellers, but the parties would have to negotiate transactions themselves. (The Feds rule for financial holding companies acting as intermediaries was made final in January.)
Separately, the agency adopted changes to rules governing investment securities, bank operations, leasing, and other activities. The OCC said the update was necessary to keep pace with changes in the legal and banking system.
The changes include clarification of national banks ability to offer financial literacy programs in schools and to assess noninterest fees.
The agency also issued a rule that lets national banks perform fiduciary activities in more than one state. Under this rule, a national bank no longer needs to seek prior approval from the agency to exercise fiduciary powers each time it moves into a new state. Now a bank need only notify the agency.
Both rules take effect Aug. 1.