Eight states and the District of Columbia are taking the national bank regulator to court over a rule change that has just come into effect.
As of January 5 Submit, The Attorney General of New York is leading the charge against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the current acting Comptroller Brian Brooks.
In October the OCC completed his Line “True Lender”, which took effect at the end of December. The rule dictates that a loan that involves a national bank as a lender can therefore rely on the OCC’s national guidelines rather than those of individual states. The controversy here is that many states have particularly strong anti-usury provisions, which limit interest rates in hopes of preventing predatory credits. Today’s complaint claims that the OCC has not taken the concerns seriously:
“While the OCC pays lip service to condemning looted loans, it gives its wholesale attention to credit relationships based on circumventing usury laws designed to protect consumers.”
The OCC for its part said in the announcement of the rule that:
Banks’ credit relationships with third parties can facilitate access to affordable credit. However, the growing legal uncertainty surrounding such relationships may discourage banks and third parties from working together, limiting competition and the innovation that results from these partnerships. This could ultimately limit access to affordable credit. “
In their complaint today, the national regulators allege that the OCC exceeded its authority by circumventing or suppressing state law. They say the regulator also violated the Administrative Procedure Act by rushing his rule out the door without taking seriously any comments on his rule proposal. In addition, regulators are asking the court to “declare that the OCC has violated the APA because its True Lender Rule is arbitrary, erratic, misuse of discretion, or otherwise inconsistent with the law.”
The OCC declined Cointelegraph’s request for comment on the dispute.
In late December, an association of state banking regulators filed similar complaints against the OCC for its work of chartering a non-preservable blockchain lending platform like a national bank. Those regulators assured Cointelegraph that the principle of the OCC’s pre-emption was the main legal issue.
Meanwhile, the OCC sent one last night new interpretive letter that allows national banks to run nodes for stablecoin networks. Because of these and similar rules, Brooks has become a folk hero among the crypto community since he took over as acting controller in May.