Removing Barriers Blog

Senate Hearing Examines the Future of Fintech
Posted September 19, 2018 by Chandler Schuette

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met for a hearing yesterday entitled “Fintech: Examining Digitization, Data, and Technology.” The witnesses included Mr. Steven Boms, President, Allon Advocacy, on behalf of Consumer Financial Data Rights (CFDR); Mr. Stuart Rubinstein, President, Fidelity Wealth Technologies; Mr. Brian Knight, Director of the Innovation and Governance Program, Mercatus Center at George Mason University; and Ms. Saule T. Omarova, Professor of Law and Director, Jack Clarke Program on the Law and Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets, Cornell University.

Both the Members of the Committee and the witnesses stressed the importance of thoroughly and methodically instituting regulations governing fintech given the sensitive nature of the information and relationships involved.

  • Chairman Crapo (R-ID) repeated the need for clear and frequent affirmative consent requirements for third-party access to financial data.
  • Ranking Member Brown (D-OH) raised concerns over the risks associated with the access and dissemination of consumers’ sensitive financial and transactional data by tech companies.

CUNA previously addressed the issue in a letter to Subcommittee Chairman Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Ranking Member Clay (D-MO) of the House Financial Services Committee prior to their hearing on fintech. The letter expressed concerns that a lack of regulation could lead to an unequal playing field for credit unions.

In the letter CUNA wrote, “Credit unions welcome innovation as innovation has led to credit unions offering new products and services to members. Nonetheless, we remain concerned that the playing field does not always remain level. Credit unions and other financial institutions are heavily regulated for safety and soundness and consumer protections. This is not always the case for other companies offering financial products.”

CUNA will continue to work with Congress to ensure a level-playing field of regulation that encourages innovation.