Payments Companies Move to Single Licensing Exam as Streamlining of State Regulation Continues

The U.S. regulatory environment continues to evolve in response to the growing number of nonbanks offering financial services. This time it’s state regulators – and their treatment of money service businesses – that are taking another step forward.

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced this week that 13 nationwide payments firms either have undergone or are undergoing a single comprehensive exam during this quarter, as part of the new One Company, One Exam program.

“Our goal of completing single, coordinated exams for each nationally operating money service business in 2021 is an important part of our evolution from the siloed system of the past to a nationwide federated system of licensing and supervision,” John W. Ryan, CSBS president and CEO, said in the announcement.

Adhering to requirements and undergoing exams in multiple states can be a challenge for businesses, including some payment facilitators, who choose to become money service businesses or money transmitters.

These types of businesses are regulated on both the federal and the state level, resulting in a patchwork of requirements and multiple licensing exams for companies that want to do business nationally or in multiple states.

The One Company, One Exam program is intended to satisfy all state exam requirements, the organization said. It applies to businesses that operate in 40 or more states. The program was developed as part of Vision 2020, the initiative CSBS launched in 2017 with input from a group of fintech companies to develop a framework for regulating nonbanks across states.

“We are pleased that the CSBS has been consistent in seeking industry insights and partnership to understand opportunities for streamlined supervision. CSBS’s One Company, One Exam initiative is a transformative moment that maintains the rigor of regulatory oversight while reducing undue regulatory impact on the industry,” Andrea Donkor, vice president and head of Global Regulatory Relations at PayPal, said in the press release.