Fintech companies now have the federal option they have long sought after the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency green-lighted firms to apply for a special-purpose bank charter. But winning OCC approval on charter bids will not be a walk in the park.

One day after the OCC announcement, some fintech firms signaled clear interest in the charter. But the agency's decision also prompted a slew of additional questions, including whether firms would be able to meet the regulator's tough criteria, and whether state regulators would continue to fight the charter concept in court.

“There are no shortcuts here for prospective fintech charter applicants,” said Julie Williams, managing director and the director of domestic advisory practice at Promontory Financial Group LLC. “The OCC very much reaffirmed they will be looking at applying all of the safety and soundness expectations they would apply to a traditional bank.”

Read more in American Banker.