FDIC, Treasury Heads Seek Reg Framework That Fosters Innovation

Apr 25, 2019
The FDIC is working on a regulatory and supervisory framework that encourages banking innovation and partnerships with fintech companies, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said. Speaking at the FDIC’s “Fintech and the Future of Banking” conference in Arlington, Va., McWilliams (pictured) said the risk-averse regulatory framework discourages banks from innovating and needs reform.

Data was another major topic of discussion, with McWilliams proclaiming that “data is the new currency” while emphasizing that banks must balance access to data with safety and soundness and consumer privacy concerns. She said the FDIC should make public as much of its data as possible and use data analysis to improve the agency, which is also launching an “FDIC Tech Lab” to promote innovative and transformative technologies in the financial services sector.

McWilliams also told reporters that as the FDIC considers industrial loan company applications for deposit insurance, it will require them to meet the same capital and profitability standards as regular banks.

Separately, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said consumers have a reasonable expectation of security and privacy of the data they provide to third parties. Mnuchin said he leans toward allowing consumers to opt in—rather than opt out—of collecting and sharing their financial data.

Mnuchin also addressed regulatory balance, citing the need to ensure safety and soundness in the areas of cryptocurrency and anti-money laundering without undermining innovation. He also addressed housing-finance reform, noting his goal of removing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship as quickly as possible.

ICBA staff attended the FDIC conference. ICBA has been a key proponent of fintech collaboration, including via its ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator partnership with The Venture Center. The first-of-its-kind accelerator cultivated community bank-focused technologies and presented finalists at last month’s ICBA LIVE convention in Nashville.