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Washington
CFPB reaches out to financial services innovators
WASHINGTON (11/15/12)--Project Catalyst, a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) initiative that will bring the agency and innovators together to promote consumer-friendly innovation and entrepreneurship in financial services and financial products markets, was announced on Wednesday.

Through Project Catalyst, the agency said it hopes to:

  • Establish firm lines of communication with innovators and be accessible to all those who may be affected by the CFPB's regulations, including those on the front lines of innovation;
  • Better understand new and emerging financial market products, and potentially adapt existing regulations to address new innovations in financial market products; and
  • Engage with innovators that have new ideas that beget consumer-friendly innovation.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a release said the collaborations fostered by the project will help the agency "better understand what works and does not work to improve life for consumers in the marketplace." Disclosure testing will also be an area of emphasis for the new project, and Cordray said the CFPB will also work with groups that are trying to improve consumer disclosures The CFPB may develop trial disclosures in the future, he added.

The agency has asked for information from individuals or groups that have noticed ways financial regulations could be improved to better foster consumer-friendly innovation, and said that these suggestions could be forwarded on to financial policymakers. The CFPB is also reaching out to employees or firms that are developing their own new consumer-friendly products, and wish to collaborate with the agency or launch a pilot version of these products.

The CFPB is already sharing data about consumer behaviors and trends with three firms. Those firms are consumer account protection provider BillGuard and "alternative banking" firms Plastyc and Simple.

The CFPB said its work with BillGuard will help it better understand trends in billing dispute resolution and consumer complaints. The collaborative efforts with Plastyc and Simple will will give the CFPB insight on consumer spending habits and saving.

For more on the CFPB project, use the resource link.
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