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Curing the Small Business Recession
Fintech Beat podcast, Ep. 30

Big data poses big problems for banks, experts say
Risks to security and privacy cited as products and services develop rapidly

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer says big data systems generate “astounding” amounts of data. “This is the future, and there’s no going back from here,” he said at a Nov. 21 hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The financial services industry’s use of big data and data aggregation tools has the potential to benefit millions of consumers but also could disproportionately affect the privacy and security of vulnerable populations.

That’s the take of experts who testified to the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force on Financial Technology last month, hoping to convince lawmakers that more attention is needed on the issue.

Banks see Fed payments proposal opening door to fintech rivals
Banking industry pushes for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services

Prompted by the Federal Reserve’s plan to build an instant payment system, banks are pushing for tight rules on tech firms moving into banking-like services. (iStock)

A plan by the Federal Reserve to build its own network to transfer funds quickly has pitted technology firms seeking a foothold in the financial sector against banks that have traditionally dominated the payments business. 

Tech firms see the new payment system as an opportunity to get into the payments business, and banks, facing a new rival, are pushing for tight rules on companies moving into banking-like services, according to advocates on both sides of the issue.

Proposed foreign investment scrutiny adds to fintech deal risk
New rules would expand the types of transactions that come under CFIUS jurisdiction

New foreign investment rules proposed by the Treasury Department are compounding regulatory risks for mergers and acquisitions in the global fintech market. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New foreign investment rules proposed by the U.S. Treasury Department are compounding regulatory risks for mergers and acquisitions in the global financial technology market, analysts say.

The proposed rules, which are expected to be finalized and in force by early 2020, expand the types of transactions that come under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a Treasury-led interagency panel that probes national security issues in cross-border deals.

Fintech Beat explains how open banking is poised to revolutionize financial services
Open Banking 101, Ep. 28

Open banking is shaking up financial experiences for customers across the globe (iStock).

Open banking is set to shake up financial experiences for customers across the globe, enabling customers to allow third parties to access financial information needed to develop new apps and services. Fintech Beat sits down with the head of policy at Plaid, a unicorn fintech sitting in the middle of the revolution, to discuss the process of information sharing and how regulation shapes it.

Libra’s regulatory hurdles appear taller after House hearing
Still to be decided: How the cryptocurrency would be regulated

Libra, known as a stablecoin, would be backed by a basket of dollars, euros and other traditional currencies called the Libra Reserve. (iStock)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided only a few additional details about the company’s proposed cryptocurrency to a House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23 that generally didn’t like what it heard. 

Zuckerberg said Facebook wouldn’t proceed with the proposed Libra until it had satisfied regulators’ concerns. That pledge and the harsh criticism from lawmakers on both sides the aisle appears to narrow, if not eliminate, the company’s path to approval, at least for a project as sweepingly ambitious as Libra is.

Fintech Beat and FRT team up to cover all things fintech in DC
Fintech Beat, Ep. 27

An attendee at Fintech Week 2019 asks a question during a panel. (Photo by CQ Roll Call)

The co-founder of Ethereum has thoughts on Facebook's Libra
Fintech Beat, Ep. 26

Joe Lubin (left), co-founder of Ethereum and the founder of ConsenSys, talks with Chris Brummer, co-founder of Fintech Beat, at Fintech Week 2019. (Photo by CQ Roll Call)

Joe Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys, is planning a big upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain. Fintech Beat sits down with him to discuss the changes--as well as what he thinks about Libra and the CFTC's stance that Ether is a commodity.

Show notes: 

Curbing disinformation: How much should social media companies do?
Both parties want tech firms to do more, but are at odds over type of actions required

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s ad policies, telling lawmakers last week that people should be allowed to see for themselves what politicians are saying so they can make their own judgments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook’s efforts to limit online disinformation while simultaneously allowing politicians to lie in paid advertisements ahead of the 2020 election is forcing a debate over the responsibility of technology companies to crack down on domestic and foreign disinformation, and the consequences if they don’t.

Over the weekend, the company removed a political group’s advertisement that falsely claimed South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham supported the Green New Deal. The move stands in contrast to an earlier decision to allow President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign to run an advertisement that claimed, without evidence, that former Vice President Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine unless its government fired a prosecutor investigating Biden’s son Hunter.

Cryptocurrencies complicate effort to stop opioid dealers
Law enforcement ramping up efforts to trace, halt use of digital currencies in illegal drug trade

House Republican leaders hold photos of people from their district affected by the opioid epidemic during a news conference at the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday June 13, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The fight against the opioid crisis is facing a growing problem: Criminals are getting better at hiding the cryptocurrency transactions they use to buy drugs online.

The opioid crisis, which claims more than 100 lives a day, has been fueled partly by cryptoassets, but law enforcement is ramping up efforts to trace and halt their use in the illegal trade.

Brad Garlinghouse speaks to Fintech Beat about all things crypto
Fintech Beat, Ep. 25

Brad Garlinghouse (left), CEO of Ripple, sits with Chris Brummer, co-founder of Fintech Beat, at last week's Fintech Week. (Photo by CQ Roll Call)

 

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, sits down with Fintech Beat's Chris Brummer about the state of his company, XRP, Facebook's Libra, Cryptocurrency, and the vast universe of the regulatory unknown.

Zuckerberg to face criticism over cryptocurrency, other issues
Democrats and Republicans will interrogate the Facebook CEO on Wednesday over a number of issues

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to face bipartisan criticism Wednesday when he appears before the House Financial Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conciliatory-sounding Mark Zuckerberg will face questions Wednesday about Facebook’s world-altering ambitions from congressional critics of both parties.

Democrats and Republicans are expected to interrogate the Facebook CEO over the plan to launch Libra, a cryptocurrency pegged to a basket of global currencies and managed by a consortium of multinational corporations, as well as the company’s role in the spread of political propaganda, alleged violations of housing legislation, dominance of online advertising, monetization of users’ data and censoring of right-wing media.

New York City eyes regulation of facial recognition technology
Bills under consideration would require businesses, landlords to disclose use of technology

A photo of the New York Police Department’s security center in Manhattan, which uses facial recognition technology (Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Legislation that would begin to regulate the use of facial recognition technology in the country’s most populous city could soon be made into law.

While cities around the country move to ban facial recognition and other types of biometric surveillance outright, the City Council here is taking a piecemeal approach, considering bills that would require businesses and landlords to disclose their use of the technology.

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.