Huntington Bank Cryptocurrency Policy

Huntington Bank Cryptocurrency Policy

Robert McDougall 

January 9, 2024

Cryptocurrency

The Huntington Bank is the preferred banking solution for consumers in the Midwest and South of America. Huntington National Bank has been operational for over 150 years and is as old as it gets in the South of the United States.

Huntington Bank has a growing network of 1,100 branches, mainly located in the South and Midwest. Customers can open three different types of checking accounts, including Huntington 5, Huntington 25, and Asterisk Free Checking.

As is the case with most banks we have researched and analyzed in the United States, Huntington Bank doesn't offer direct cryptocurrency trading. No checking or savings accounts help you invest in cryptocurrencies or deposit digital assets. However, you can easily use the funds in your account to buy crypto from a third-party crypto exchange.

Want to know how that works? Stay with us as we look at Huntington Bank's cryptocurrency policy in detail and understand how it works.

Huntington Bank’s Current Stance on Cryptocurrencies

Huntington Bank is one of the oldest banks in the United States and has shown flexibility and interest in adopting cryptocurrencies. The bank stands on par with others in the United States to support deposits on FINRA-regulated exchanges.

Huntington Bank’s Policy on Cryptocurrencies

Account holders of Huntington Bank do not currently have the option to buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrencies using the resources provided by the bank. However, as is the case with most traditional banks in the United States, Huntington does offer account holders the ability to deposit funds from their accounts to any regulated exchange of their choice.

As an account holder, you can choose any FINRA-regulated crypto exchange of your choice and start investing in crypto.

Factors Influencing Huntington Bank’s Policy

By now, we understand that Huntington Bank does not offer crypto investments through an in-bank exchange. However, customers can freely deposit funds into an external exchange of their choice.

The policy is determined by a number of factors, including:

Volatile Market

Even with the gloss and shine of crypto investments, we realize that the market overall is extremely volatile. As much as we talk about the upsides of crypto investments, there are multiple downsides as well, with market volatility topping the list.

As a premier bank in the United States, Huntington Bank would want to protect all customers from the risks of crypto investments. The bank currently has a cautious approach that minimizes customer interaction with speculative assets that can suddenly increase or decrease in value.

Cryptocurrencies are generally volatile in nature, and the rapid increase/decrease can lead to customer commotion and a notion of distrust that Huntington Bank wouldn't want to be associated with.

The high volatility of cryptocurrencies could require investors to adjust their investment strategies regularly, which might not be suitable for all consumers, particularly those looking for long-term, stable investment. We believe the volatility could kill repeat customers for Huntington Bank and lead to customer dissatisfaction. 

The Regulations in Place

There are certain regulations in place within the United States that limit banks from running exchanges and allowing customers to trade cryptocurrencies. From where we see it, a Federal ruling in Feb of 2023 gave an interpretation of section 9(13) of the Federal Reserve Act to regulate the use of crypto assets within the banking ecosystem.

The section specifically guides national banks to avoid holding crypto assets. As part of the new directions, the Board will have the power to presumptively prohibit banks from holding crypto assets.

“With respect to any novel and unprecedented activities, such as those associated with crypto-assets or use of distributed ledger technology, it is particularly important for a state member bank to have in place appropriate systems to monitor and control risks,” mentioned the FED.

“The Board believes this presumption is bolstered by safety and soundness concerns,” the Board notes. “The Financial Stability Oversight Council has observed that, in the absence of a fundamental economic use case, the value of most crypto-assets is driven largely by sentiment and future expectations, and not by cash flows from providing goods or services outside the crypto-asset ecosystem.”

The Huntington Bank is bound by these rulings and cannot take the regulatory misstep of offering cryptocurrencies for investment when it can ruffle a few legal feathers. Banks engaging in activities involving cryptocurrencies would need to notify the Federal Reserve in advance. This could add more bureaucratic procedures and create further regulatory uncertainty.

Competitor Actions

Being a major player in the American financial ecosystem, Huntington Bank keeps a stringent eye on other banks and competitors. The current financial ecosystem is one of discipline and freedom. While banks maintain the regulatory discipline to not offer digital assets of their own, they also provide customers the freedom to invest in an approved exchange.

All of CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase have similar policies in place for crypto investments.

Previous Actions and Statements

Based on our extensive research, we found out that Huntington National Bank purchased Torana, a business-to-consumer payment fintech based in San Francisco. The deal was made in Feb 2022 and signaled an interest in digital payment solutions. The current motive behind the acquisition of Torana was to improve banking services for commercial clients, but the move can act as a digital bridge in the future. 

Huntington Bank has also issued statements on its plan to launch its own payment solution known as Huntington ChoicePay. The solution will enhance the current payment capabilities and might even offer better integration with approved exchanges. 

Pros and Cons of Huntington Bank’s Cryptocurrency Policy

We have certainly come a long way with cryptocurrency investments. Not too long ago, cryptocurrency was a point of discussion for underground libertarians, but the discussion has now reached investment experts and senior citizens.

Knowing that crypto investments can be a double-edged sword, we take a look at the pros and cons of this cautious/conservative approach.

Advantages of Huntington Bank’s Conservative Approach

We start by examining some of the advantages of Huntington Bank’s Conservative Approach:

Protection Against Volatility and Potential Losses

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Huntington Bank’s cautious approach to crypto management is the protection it provides against volatility and losses.

We understand that Huntington Bank has a reputation for protecting and only offers investments that are safe and tested. Cryptocurrencies can be extremely unreliable and a little too volatile for the bank's liking.

Huntington Bank wants to shield customers from the severe storms of cryptocurrency investments with a conservative approach. While customers can deposit their funds in an approved exchange, the bank doesn’t recommend them.

Mitigation of Money Laundering and Fraud Risks

From where we see it, money laundering schemes on crypto assets usually involve placing black or dirty money across the financial system. The money is then layered around the system to hide the primary source and then sent back to the criminal's pocket for integration.

We understand that many criminals have laundered money through traditional means in the history of the United States. However, the means of laundering money have now developed. Digital assets now provide criminals a new avenue for laundering, as there is a certain grey area for regulations surrounding them.

By deciding not to partake in cryptocurrency investments, Huntington Bank is safeguarding its own interests alongside those of their customers. The bank allows customers to deposit funds in registered exchanges that have better KYC (Know Your Customer) measures to limit the chances of money laundering through digital assets.

Ensuring Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

As we have discussed previously, there are certain regulations in place for conventional banks in the United States. By adopting a more conservative approach, Huntington Bank is able to minimize any regulatory issues.

Disadvantages of Huntington Bank’s Conservative Approach

We now study some of the disadvantages that come with Huntington Bank’s approach:

Missed Opportunities for Growth and Innovation

With great risk comes great opportunity. We believe there is a huge untapped market with cryptocurrencies at a bigger and better level. Huntington Bank had and still has the opportunity to take these challenges as an opportunity for growth and innovation in the respective field.

Huntington Bank for one could have benefited from the stablecoin wave and used them as a bridge between fiat and cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the Bitcoin boom saw many financial apps open crypto trading options and charge high transaction fees. Huntington Bank had these opportunities and missed them. 

While there are regulatory bottlenecks, there is an opportunity to provide a bridge between traditional investments and digital assets. The playing field is still open, and banks still have an opportunity to drop the cautious approach and use innovation to integrate digital assets into their traditional operations.

Potential Alienation of Tech-Savvy Customers

The lack of focus and attention toward digital assets has also left many tech-savvy customers and digital investors of the Bank of Huntington feeling isolated and alienated. The bank has not set these customers as a priority, and these disgruntled customers may make a move toward other banks and exchanges with more favorable measures.

Additionally, with fintech apps coming up, a slew of options are available for investing in crypto, with deposit and withdrawal facilities as well.

Competitors’ Strategies and Market Implications

Huntington Bank is on par with other traditional banks; CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase have similar policies in place for crypto investments. Huntington Bank's stance limits the services available to those interested in cryptocurrencies, potentially affecting the bank's competitiveness in the emerging crypto space. The market implications may drive customers to other alternatives. 

Neo-banks and financial service providers are filling the void, and banking apps such as Juno, Cash App, and Revolut allow crypto transactions. They even support ATM withdrawals as well as bill payments.

Customer Perspectives and Reactions

We studied multiple keynotes from the Bank Customer Experience Summit in 2022 and found out that customers are currently in a more contemplative headspace since COVID-19. Customers today want their financial service provider to meet their unique investment requirements.

Due to the cautious approach by traditional banks such as Huntington Bank, many customers are turning towards neo-banks and fintech apps that offer crypto investments with ATM cash withdrawals.

Customers’ Opinions on Cryptocurrency

Based on results from the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, Huntington Bank was ranked #1 in the North Central and Pennsylvania region. The bank ranked number one for trust, account offerings, and convenience.

There is no current research on what customers of the bank have to say in regard to the lack of cryptocurrency options. However, reviews from Customer Affairs (an online tool for recording customer feedback) have a 3.6/5 rating for Huntington Bank.

The low rating on Customer Affairs could be an indication of customer dissatisfaction with the current services offered. As crypto investment options aren’t available, customers are left dissatisfied, and some may have left a low rating. 

Comparisons with Other Banks

As covered above, Huntington Bank offers pretty much the same services as other traditional banks in the United States. However, other banking apps such as Juno, Cash App, and Revolut allow crypto transactions, ATM withdrawals, and bill payments.

From a portfolio perspective, Huntington Bank should provide customers the option to at least view and discuss cryptocurrency as a possible option. Customers should be able to track charts and trends on cryptocurrencies and gain more information on future estimates. Failure to do so may lead customers to alternatives, of which there are many.

Alternatives to Huntington Bank for Crypto Transactions

If you're thinking of moving from Huntington Bank to a fintech app or service for funds management and easier crypto trading, then certain alternatives are available.

These options include;

Revolut

Revolut was first launched in 2015, before the cryptocurrency boom, and offers crypto support with modern financial services. The online bank supports over 50 cryptocurrencies and provides a unified exchange that helps you trade Solana, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, among others.

You can use the crypto funds in your Revolut account to pay bills and even withdraw cash from an ATM. We are all for the innovative approach to banking and recommend users try the app if they want to invest in crypto.

Wirex

We absolutely love Wirex. Why, you ask? For starters, there is a dedicated platform for crypto investments with over 37 digital assets to sell and purchase. Additionally, customers get an 8% cashback on all purchases they make through their Wirex account. See more features and advantages of Wirex in this detailed review.

Juno

Juno helps store both fiat and digital assets in one seamless account. From our experience with the fintech app, Juno gives you a chance to store a fixed percentage of all incoming assets as cryptocurrency.

For instance, if you receive $1,000 each month, you can store $200 as cryptocurrencies by directing the app to save 20% of all incoming assets as a digital currency. The automatic transactions help keep you in charge of your funds without partaking in repetitive tasks.

While the alternatives discussed above do look exciting, customers can use them on top of their Huntington Bank account rather than completely replacing the account. It is good to have some money saved in a traditional bank for more security and liquidity.

Future Outlook and Potential Challenges

As the world of finance continues to evolve, cryptocurrencies have become a significant player in the global financial sphere. This has led to a re-evaluation of traditional banking industry policies, with more and more banks adjusting their strategies to adapt to this new reality. In this context, it is essential to discuss the future of crypto-related policies in institutions like Huntington Bank.

At present, Huntington Bank does not allow its customers to partake in crypto investments directly through their accounts. However, we can foresee a change in these policies as they adapt to the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency market.

A More Favorable Ecosystem for Cryptocurrencies

As per our understanding, the potential for a more favorable ecosystem for cryptocurrencies within the banking industry is already on the horizon.

As more and more people become acquainted with digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others, the need for financial institutions to address this new form of currency will become increasingly important.

Additionally, as governments and regulatory bodies continue to develop frameworks around cryptocurrency regulation, banks will need to adapt and comply with these new rules. This will naturally lead to a change in policies that could facilitate easier access to cryptocurrencies for bank customers.

Banks, such as Huntington Bank, could potentially partner with established cryptocurrency exchanges or other fintech companies specializing in the sector to provide seamless access to digital assets for their customers. This would allow for a more integrated approach between traditional banking and cryptocurrency services.

The Future of Crypto-Related Policies in Huntington Bank

While it is currently not possible for customers to invest in cryptocurrencies through their Huntington Bank accounts, we can anticipate a shift in their policies as the banking landscape adapts to the growing popularity and regulatory environment surrounding digital assets.

  1. Education and awareness: We believe Huntington Bank can play a crucial role in educating its customers about the benefits and risks of investing in cryptocurrencies. This would be a vital step in creating a more favorable environment for crypto investments within the bank.

  2. Adoption of banking services: As Huntington Bank continually assesses its suite of products and services, it could offer crypto-related services that cater to the evolving needs of its customers, such as enabling investments in digital assets or facilitating seamless transactions with cryptocurrencies.

  3. Risk management: Huntington Bank could implement robust risk management strategies to address the unique concerns associated with cryptocurrencies, ensuring that their customers can safely and securely navigate the world of digital assets.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we would like to make clear that Huntington Bank does not directly offer cryptocurrency investments to account holders. However, like other competitors in the traditional banking industry, the bank does allow customers to make deposits to regulated crypto exchanges. Exchanges like eToro are popular among customers as they can trade over 75 cryptocurrencies as well as other assets, such as stocks and indices.

We have also discovered that Huntington Bank plans to launch its own digital payment solution, Huntington ChoicePay. The solution will enhance the current payment capabilities and might even offer better integration with approved exchanges. But for now, investors will have to rely on deposits to FINRA-approved exchanges.


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