Fiserv seeks special purpose bank charter

Fiserv seeks special purpose bank charter

Fiserv Seeks Special Purpose Bank Charter


Fiserv, a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, recently announced its plan to apply for a special purpose national bank charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). This move is driven by Fiserv’s ambition to expand its offerings and provide additional digital banking services to its clients.

What is a Special Purpose Bank Charter?

A special purpose bank charter is a limited-purpose banking license issued by the OCC, allowing financial technology (fintech) companies to perform select banking functions. While traditional banks offer a wide range of services, a special purpose charter authorizes fintech firms to focus on specific activities, such as payments, lending, or providing financial advice.

By obtaining a special purpose bank charter, Fiserv aims to enhance its capabilities and provide a more comprehensive suite of financial services, improving the customer experience and meeting the evolving needs of the digital banking landscape.

Advantages of a Special Purpose Charter

Receiving a special purpose bank charter provides several advantages for companies like Fiserv:

  • Regulatory Clarity: Special purpose charters enable fintech companies to operate with greater clarity and under a specific regulatory framework tailored to their activities. This clarity facilitates compliance and reduces regulatory uncertainties.
  • Competitive Edge: With a banking charter, Fiserv can offer a wider range of services, including accepting customer deposits and accessing the Federal Reserve’s payment systems. This enables the company to broaden its portfolio and compete on a level playing field with traditional banks.
  • Innovation Potential: The special purpose charter status encourages fintech firms to innovate and develop advanced banking solutions. It allows companies like Fiserv to leverage their expertise and technological capabilities to drive financial inclusion and shape the future of banking.

Fiserv’s Expansion and Expectations

Fiserv is already a prominent player in the financial technology sector, providing a comprehensive range of solutions to banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. By seeking a special purpose charter, Fiserv aims to further expand its offerings and better serve its clients.

With a special purpose bank charter, Fiserv plans to augment its existing suite of solutions with additional digital banking services. These may include improved payment processing capabilities, enhanced lending platforms, personalized financial advice, and innovative risk management tools.

Moreover, Fiserv intends to leverage its extensive network of clients and industry partnerships to foster collaboration in the development of new products and services. This collaboration will enable the company to address the evolving needs of consumers and businesses in the ever-changing financial landscape.

Critical Considerations and Challenges

While obtaining a special purpose bank charter offers numerous opportunities, there are also significant considerations and challenges that Fiserv and other fintech companies must address.

Regulatory Scrutiny: Applying for, and receiving, a special purpose charter requires a rigorous process involving compliance with stringent regulatory requirements. Fiserv must meet the OCC’s standards and expectations to ensure a smooth and successful application.

Consumer Trust: With expanded financial service offerings, Fiserv needs to earn and maintain consumer trust by ensuring data privacy, security, and transparent financial practices. Building trust is crucial in the digital banking era, where individuals rely heavily on technology for financial transactions.


Fiserv’s pursuit of a special purpose bank charter exemplifies the increasing convergence of technology and banking. By expanding its capabilities and obtaining a banking license, Fiserv aims to provide new and improved digital banking services, while fostering innovation and collaboration within the financial technology sector.

While there are challenges to overcome, Fiserv’s move is indicative of the broader trend in which traditional financial institutions and fintech companies are transforming to meet the digital demands of customers worldwide. The success of Fiserv’s application could pave the way for other fintech firms to seek special purpose charters and contribute to the ongoing evolution of the banking industry.