OCC Head Hsu Praises ‘Careful and Cautious’ Approach to Crypto

OCC, Michael Hsu, cryptocurrency

A cautious approach to cryptocurrencies has proven to be the right course for banks, and consumers would be wise to adopt a similar approach in their own financial lives.

So said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu, who added that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) “careful and cautious” strategy for crypto activities by banks had mitigated the risk of contagion from this year’s events in the crypto markets.

“Years of reform and rebuilding after the 2008 financial crisis have strengthened the banking system, making it more resilient, more fair and more trustworthy,” Hsu said Thursday (Nov. 17) in remarks delivered to a public meeting of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC). “While continued improvements need to be made, this has proven valuable with the rapid rise and fall of crypto this past year.”

Speaking of consumers, Hsu noted that millions of people have lost money in crypto this year. He pointed to the Nov. 10 complaint bulletin released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which highlighted fraud, theft, account hacks and scams related to crypto assets.

Too many consumers have been influenced by the hype promoted in crypto’s online community, Hsu said.

“Stepping away from the online chatter can help provide perspective and clarity about one’s situation and the right course of action to strengthen one’s finances and improve one’s financial health,” he said.

Hsu also advised consumers to use FLEC’s MyMoney.gov website to learn about money management and ways to grow money steadily and reliably.

“A year ago, the idea of getting rich slowly-but-surely would have sounded ludicrous,” Hsu said. “Today, it sounds wise. That’s because it is.”

This presentation came about three weeks after the OCC announced that it will establish an Office of Financial Technology next year to support “responsible financial innovation.”

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