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Fintech Varo Bank receives preliminary OCC approval for national bank charter

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency approved Varo Bank NA's application for a new bank charter, according to information made available on the OCC website.

The decision was effective Aug. 31. The bank intends to be based in Salt Lake City.

The approval is preliminary, Varo Bank said in a press release. The move puts the company on the path to becoming "the first all-mobile national bank" in the U.S., Varo Bank said. The company still needs approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and it has yet to become a Federal Reserve member.

Varo Bank is one of several financial technology companies that have applied for a bank charter or an industrial loan company charter. The OCC's approval came about a month after the regulator released details about its hotly anticipated "fintech charter," a path for fintech companies to gain bank charters.

Varo Money Inc., the banking technology company affiliated with Varo Bank, offered customers a mobile banking app with a checking account and ATM access through a partnership with The Bancorp Inc.

Varo Money is backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC.