OCC Seeking to Remove Structural Barriers to Financial Inclusion

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC, launched a project aimed to improve financial inclusion of underserved populations.

Called REACh, which stands for Roundtable for Economic Access and Change, will bring together banking industry leaders and national civil rights, business and technology organizations to identify and reduce barriers and increase access to capital and credit. The group met on July 10 to start looking for projects the group will tackle.

Party of the roundtable is to see which policy and structural issues on the national and local levels that prevent access to credit. Brian P. Brooks, the acting Comptroller of the Currency and formerly part of Coinbase’s legal team, said one of the barriers the group will try to address is the lack of credit score for almost 50 million Americans who may be unable to get a traditional loan and create a pattern of credit.

“The recent civil unrest across our country emphasizes that too many people have been left out of our nation’s economy,” Brooks said in a statement from the OCC. “While we applaud others, who have made large financial contributions to address immediate needs, Project REACh will focus on policy and structural changes that can help more people participate in our economy and prosper in the same way so many others have.”

Participants in the first meeting include representatives from the National Asian American Coalition, the NAACP, the Native American Finance Officers Association, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup, and Credit Karma, among others.

The OCC has been discussing ways to bring in more financial technology, including the possibility of onboarding crypto capabilities into the banking system.


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