Latest Payments News: OCC Outlines BNPL Expectations For US Banks and more

Kat Pilkington


December 11, 2023

Catch up on six of the stories our payments compliance analysts have covered lately, and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

OCC Outlines BNPL Expectations For US Banks 

The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has issued a new bulletin to assist banks in effectively managing risks associated with buy now, pay later (BNPL) lending and in responsibly offering BNPL loans. 

The financial regulator has said that it expects banks that offer BNPL loans to do so in a manner that is "safe and sound, provides fair access to financial services, supports fair treatment of consumers, and complies with applicable laws and regulations". 

In its guidance, the OCC has said that banks should establish policies and procedures for BNPL lending that address loan terms, underwriting criteria, methodologies to assess repayment capacity, fees, charge-offs, and credit loss allowance considerations. 

BNPL underwriting criteria and repayment assessment methodologies, meanwhile, should provide reasonable assurance that the borrower can repay the debt, the OCC advised. 

The bulletin also advises that comprehensive information should be sent to credit bureaus promptly in compliance with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and its implementing regulations would help mitigate credit risk associated with BNPL loans. 

Singapore Consults On Financial Institutions' Information Sharing 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has invited market participants to respond to its proposed regulations that set out the scope of relevant parties whose information may be shared via the new Collaborative Sharing of Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing (ML/TF) Information & Cases (COSMIC) platform. 

Stakeholders have until the end of the day, January 5, to respond. 

The COSMIC platform was co-created by MAS and six major commercial banks in Singapore, namely, DBS, OCBC, UOB, SCB, Citibank, and HSBC platform. It will allow participating financial institutions to share information for anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing purposes.

'Progress' - Elon Musk Welcomes New Money Transmitter Licences At X

X, formerly known as Twitter, has announced that it now holds money transmitter licences in ten US states, rising from seven states at Vixio’s last count in September.

The company announced its latest licence acquisitions via X News Daily, a proprietary news account on the X platform. Following the announcement, X CEO Elon Musk replied with a single word: “Progress.”

It is still unclear what X is planning to do with its newly acquired payments licences. In October last year, prior to closing his acquisition of the company, Musk said: “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”

He later elaborated on this concept by drawing parallels with WeChat, China’s Tencent-owned instant messaging and payments platform.

“We don’t even have an app that’s as good as WeChat in China,” he said last year. “In China you can live on WeChat. You can do payments, you can do everything.”

In April, Musk said he wants X to become “so useful that you find it essential to look after your life”.

UK’s RationalFX Grinds To A Halt, Enters Special Administration

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that RationalFX, a foreign exchange and cross-border transfer service, has entered into special administration.

The directors of RationalFX concluded that the firm was insolvent and applied to court for a special administration order.

As per an FCA restriction order, RationalFX must not, without prior written consent, engage in any further payment services, as defined by Regulation 2(1) of the Payment Services Regulations 2017.

Ed Boyle and Kristina Kicks, managing directors at debt restructuring firm Interpath Ltd, have been appointed as joint special administrators (JSAs).

The JSAs are responsible for managing customer claims against the firm and distributing funds back to customers where possible. Affected customers are advised to contact the JSAs directly.

Australian Regulators Sign MoU On 'Proactive' Information Sharing

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote information sharing between the two agencies.

The MoU, which is non-legally binding, sets out the agreed basis for coordination and cooperation between AFCA and ASIC.

The two agencies said the MoU reflects their intention to maintain a “proactive, open and collaborative relationship” to “perform their respective functions effectively”.

Among the terms of the agreement, the two agencies will consult with one another before taking mutually relevant enforcement action; collaborate on improving regulatory policy and outcomes; and will seek industry input on policy development.

BNP Paribas Set To Launch Request To Pay Solution

BNP Paribas has partnered with France-based software provider StreamMind to jointly develop an advanced SEPA Request-to-Pay solution.

Combined with upcoming e-invoicing regulations, the French banking giant said SEPA Request-to-Pay will bring a unique end-to-end solution for corporate clients and will revolutionise payment experiences across the European market.

StreamMind CEO Nicolas Muhadri described the partnership as "a great privilege" for the Paris-based software firm. 

He also said the SEPA Request-to-Pay service will provide the “digital bridge” between invoicing and payment on an “international scale". 

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