June 3, 2024


Contact: Press@FintechCouncil.org

American Fintech Council (AFC) Applauds the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) For Expanded and Pragmatic Approach to Financial Inclusion Through Project REACh 2.0

AFC welcomes continued dialogue between regulators to improve financial inclusion through responsible innovation and sound public policy; OCC’s Project REACh Financial Inclusion Summit convened key stakeholders to address barriers to financial inclusion

AFC CEO Phil Goldfeder participated in panel discussion with association members to discuss responsible technology increasing access to safe, transparent, and responsible credit

Washington, D.C. (June 3, 2024) – The American Fintech Council (AFC), the premier industry association representing responsible fintech companies and innovative banks delivering critical access to safe and affordable financial services, applauded the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on the expansion of REACh 2.0 and continued commitment to collaboration. The agency has continued its pragmatic approach to addressing barriers to financial inclusion by expanding the focus of their Roundtable for Economic Access and Change, known as Project REACh, to include financial technology.

“For nearly four years, the OCC has convened the participants of Project REACh for open and candid conversations about the barriers to fair and full participation in the U.S. banking system for all families, with the goal of realizing real change,” said Ian P. Moloney, Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs for AFC. “By expanding Project REACh’s focus, Acting Comptroller Hsu and his dedicated team recognize the importance and positive impact that responsible innovation can have on historically underserved communities. It is my sincere hope that innovators and regulators continue finding opportunities like Project REACh to build a more inclusive financial services industry together.”

Under REACh 2.0, working groups will replace workstreams and focus on place-based initiatives; underserved and disadvantaged populations; technology; and tools, products, and services. Existing REACh projects will transition to the new working groups.

“Through Project REACh, more than 100,000 credit invisibles now have access to credit and more than half a billion dollars has been invested into minority depository institutions,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu, in a recent press release. “As we tackle additional barriers that prevent full, equal, and fair participation in the nation’s economy, we’ve made structural changes to Project REACh so we can sharpen our efforts and leverage new opportunities… This new approach provides more agility to engage in a broader range of initiatives that not only address barriers but accelerate solutions to financial inclusion.”

Since July 2020, the OCC’s Project REACh has assembled key stakeholder groups to address barriers to financial inclusion through its four workstreams including alternative credit scoring, affordable homeownership, revitalizing minority depository institutions, and developing opportunities for small businesses.

In addition to AFC’s support of REACh 2.0’s expanded focus on leveraging fintech, AFC CEO Phil Goldfeder participated in a panel discussion at this year’s Project REACh Financial Inclusion Summit to explore the role of technology in increasing access to credit alongside AFC members, Self Financial and Upstart.

AFC is the fastest growing standards-based trade association representing responsible fintech companies of all sizes and innovative BaaS banks. Their mission is to promote an innovative, transparent, inclusive, and customer-centric financial system by supporting responsible innovation in financial technology (Fintech) and encouraging sound public policy. AFC members are at the forefront of fostering competition in consumer finance and pioneering ways to better serve underserved communities. AFC’s members are committed to providing innovative products that address consumer demand without compromising on regulatory compliance or consumer protection.

AFC is committed to working with policymakers, regulators, and other key stakeholder groups who believe in developing regulatory standards that balance access to financial services, innovation, and regulatory compliance. Their advocacy is paving the way for the future of financial services.