US Banking Regulator OCC Will Review Cryptocurrency Regulations

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will review its cryptocurrency regulations, according to the interim head of the department, Michael Hsu.

May 19, 2021, | AtoZ Markets – The new director of the US Office of the Comptroller of Currency, Michael Hsu, is calling for a revision of the agency's earlier regulations regarding the cryptocurrency industry.

Michael Hsu, appointed this month as the interim head of the department by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, said in prepared remarks that he wants to take a tougher stance on cryptocurrencies than his predecessor Brian Brooks.

Hsu has called for a review of several of the agency's recent actions, including those that gave the OCC the authority to grant banking licenses to crypto custodians.

I am concerned that these initiatives were not implemented in full coordination with all stakeholders,” Hsu wrote in comments to the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee of the US Senate. “It looks like they weren't part of a broader strategy related to regulatory boundaries either. I believe that solving both of these tasks should be a priority."
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OCC is one of the divisions of the Ministry of Finance that regulates the activities of national banks and credit unions. Under the leadership of former CEO Brian Brooks, OCC has taken a crypto-friendly approach. In January, the OCC allowed U.S. banks and federal savings associations to use open blockchains and stablecoins to process payments.

Last fall, the OCC issued a clarification to American banks that they were allowed to hold funds to secure stablecoins, and before that, the agency allowed banks to provide cryptocurrency custody services. However, this approach of the OCC has displeased some politicians.

At the end of 2020, a congressional group argued that Brooks had shown "an excessive focus on cryptoassets and cryptocurrency-related financial services."

This week, Hsu will share his views on OCC policy at a meeting of the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

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