Evidently, the eight-year-old, San Francisco-based outfit was the target of an investigation by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation after Chime used “chimebank” in its website address, as well as used “bank” and “banking” elsewhere in its advertisements, according to the agency in a settlement agreement.
As noted by AB, Chime made the decision to settle ahead of a deadline imposed by the regulatory body.
The development won’t surprise anyone familiar with U.S. banking laws. No outfit can represent itself as a bank or credit union unless it’s licensed to engage in the business of banking. The commission that pushed back on Chime issues such licenses and regulates state-chartered banks in the state of California through the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, and it said in the settlement that “at all relevant times herein, Chime was not licensed to operate as a bank in California or in any other jurisdiction, nor was it exempt from such licensure.”