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OCC Halts Fair Access Banking Rule

The rule would have prohibited U.S. banks from denying services based on ideological factors.

Jan 28, 2021 at 5:50 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 11:02 a.m. UTC

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Thursday put former acting Comptroller Brian Brooks' controversial "fair access" banking rule on hold pending a review by the new administration.

  • Brooks' so-called "fair access" rule sought to prohibit federally chartered banks from denying financial services such as lending to would-be clients on political or ideological grounds.
  • While the rule never mentioned cryptocurrencies, it came as welcome news to businesses in the space, which have long struggled to obtain or keep bank accounts in the U.S.
  • The OCC rushed to finalize the rule before the end of President Donald Trump's term, but it was never published in the Federal Register.
  • Proponents have claimed the rule was a necessary check on politically motivated financial exclusion. Detractors have blasted the proposal for being far from fair.
  • The next OCC head will review the rule once he or she is confirmed, OCC said in a statement.

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