US-based digital personal finance company SoFi has won the preliminary approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for a national bank charter.

The licence application for the “SoFi Bank, National Association” was submitted by SoFi back in July 2020.

The application now needs to be reviewed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve.

SoFi currently provides student loan refinancing, mortgages, personal loans, investing and banking—with the support of partner banks.

Upon obtaining the banking licence, SoFi will be able to accept customer deposits and lend money without relying on partner banks.

The San Francisco-based personal finance startup is also known for providing student loans refinancing at cheaper rates to college graduates in the country.

Recently, SoFi launched its first Mastercard credit card to help people pay their debts.

In a statement, SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said: “SoFi is on a mission to help consumers get their money right all in one app.

“This preliminary conditional approval from the OCC is a testament to the mission-driven company we have built, the employees who help it grow, and the over 1.5 million members we currently serve.”

SoFi first sought the banking licence back in 2017.

However, it withdrew the application amid sexual harassment allegations against co-founder and former CEO Mike Cagney.

In March, FDIC had approved the banking charter for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square.