fintech

Duo seeks to bridge information divide in fintech industry
Group calls for using data to achieve better credit access

Kelly Thompson Cochran, deputy director of FinRegLab, left, and Melissa Koide, CEO of FinRegLab. The startup research group is credited with drawing attention to fintech's ability to improve Americans' lives. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

When a diverse coalition, including big banks and a civil rights group, this summer called for speedier deployment of cash-flow data to widen Americans’ access to credit, it was a little-known startup research organization that brought them together.

FinRegLab is a new Washington research group led by two women with deep ties to the financial technology industry as well as to Capitol Hill. They are credited with drawing attention to fintech’s ability to improve Americans’ lives. 

Blockchain technology may help streamline the flow of $550 billion dollars this year
Fintech Beat, Ep. 24

Remittances are poised to grow to $550 billion this year, making them the single biggest source of external funding for recipient economies, according to the World Economic Forum. More money is pumped into developing countries this way than by direct investment. But it's often costly and inefficient. Fintech, specifically blockchain technology, may be able to help.

Commerce watchdog will monitor efforts to keep 2020 census secure
GAO and lawmakers have raised security concerns over Census Bureau’s IT systems

The Commerce Department inspector general will be monitoring the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog will take a look at the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure, the inspector general said in a letter Thursday.

The announcement follows a trail of security concerns about Census Bureau systems for next year’s count from the Government Accountability Office and members of Congress. Next year’s census will allow an online response option for most of the country for the first time, along with traditional mail and phone response.

DeFazio: Uber, Lyft need to ‘clean up their acts’
DeFazio said ride-hailing companies must change if they want partnerships with agencies using federal dollars

Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., left, and ranking member Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., conduct a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing in February 2019. DeFazio said the committee is still struggling on how to regulate ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft hope to ever partner with agencies that use federal dollars, “they are going to have to clean up their acts,” the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Wednesday.

Noting reports of explosive growth of those companies as well as low-paid and unvetted drivers, the panel’s subcommittee on highways and transit is wrestling with how best to regulate a burgeoning industry that has recently advocated for federal dollars as it grapples with massive losses.

Some lawmakers question amount of time spent in committees
How sustainable are members’ often packed and chaotic schedules?

California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier sits on four committees and seven subcommittees, one of the most packed rosters in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House parliamentarian brought the hammer down on the Education and Labor Committee in April, ending a long-standing practice that allowed panel members from both parties to vote on bills in committee on a flexible schedule — a violation of the House ban on proxy voting.

Members say their schedules have become so hectic and compressed that the courtesy, which the committee has extended for years, is needed. But the practice raises a bigger question: How sustainable are members’ often packed and chaotic schedules?

Report: Underground hackers and spies helped China steal jet secrets
Crowdstrike researchers reveal Beijing’s efforts to boost its own domestic aircraft industry

The Airbus 320, pictured here, and Boeing’s 737 are air passenger workhorses and would be competitors to Comac's C919. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Chinese government hackers working with the country’s traditional spies and agencies plotted and stole U.S. and European aircraft engine secrets to help Beijing leapfrog over its Western competitors in developing a domestic commercial aircraft industry, according to researchers at the cybersecurity protection firm CrowdStrike. 

“Beijing used a mixture of cyber actors sourced from China’s underground hacking scene, Ministry of State Security or MSS officers, company insiders, and state directives to fill key technology and intelligence gaps in a bid to bolster dual-use turbine engines which could be used for both energy generation and to enable its narrow-body twinjet airliner, the C919, to compete against Western aerospace firms,” CrowdStrike said in a report released Monday evening. 

Rise of fintech weakens law to prevent lending discrimination
The number of bank branches with a Community Reinvestment Act obligation to provide loans and other services is falling

The growth of online banking has poked some holes in the Community Reinvestment Act. (Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file photo)

As online banking threatens to make in-person banking at brick-and-mortar branches as archaic as video rental stores, it may do the same to a 1977 law created to counteract decades of underinvestment in minority neighborhoods.

The Community Reinvestment Act was Congress’ response all those years ago to redlining — the practice of discriminatory lending that denied or offered more expensive credit to minorities and the poor and led to urban blight and white flight from city centers.

Fintech Beat explores how Uber is much more than a ride sharing company
Uber meets Fintech, Ep. 23

A man waits for a ride-hailing service at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What is Uber? It's not just a ride share company and definitely more than a technology company. Increasingly, it's a fintech company, too. We speak to the CEO of Uber Payments LLC and Uber's associate counsel to explore the company's identity. 

Federal health officials propose loosening anti-kickback laws
Both proposals will have a 75-day comment period after they are published in the Federal Register

Supporters hold up Save Medicaid signs in September of 2017. The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled plans to loosen two anti-corruption laws for doctors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled plans to loosen two anti-corruption laws for doctors, in a bid to promote new ways of delivering coordinated health care while attempting to preserve the laws’ core aim of combating fraud and abuse.

Physician groups have long sought changes to the anti-kickback law and the Stark self-referral law, saying the cumbersome rules impede the close provider relationships necessary to pay for health outcomes rather than the volume of services. The laws restrict doctors from accepting payments that induce business under Medicare and from referring patients to other businesses in which they have a financial interest, respectively.

Fintech Beat examines Block.one's settlement with the SEC
Fintech Beat, Ep. 22

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at the SEC in Washington. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Uncertainty is the bane of the crypto industry, with limited predictability about the scope of securities laws. That's because there is little agreement on when a cryptocurrency is considered a security. Block.one found out the hard way. Fintech Beat explores what the company's settlement with the SEC means.