The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling on regulators to change their policies on fintech, and has formed a FinTech Innovation Initiative to help inform policymakers about new products and services in the fintech space.
At its event held in Washington Wednesday called “Fintech: Peeling Back the Layers,” the Chamber released the following recommendations for Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on how they should proceed regarding fintech:
- Throughout its policy statements, Treasury should highlight the importance of creating a regulatory framework that fosters fintech innovation for all financial service providers in order to set the tone for other agencies to follow, Chamber advised, calling on Treasury to help streamline the regulatory environment in order to “minimize overlapping regulatory jurisdictions and needlessly duplicative regulation to avoid confusion in the marketplace.”
- The CFPB should adopt “a robust no-action letter and advisory opinion process that gives innovators the opportunity to receive regulatory certainty they need to be successful,” and should expand its “limited no-action letter process to bring it in line” with the processes used by peer regulators, such as the SEC. The Bureau should also create a new process for issuing advisory opinions when companies have questions about a legal provision or are requesting an interpretation of an unclear aspect of the law.
- As to blockchain and cryptocurrency, the SEC should give more guidance on the treatments of tokens and initial coin offerings “to indicate whether a token is a security so companies can have more predictability and certainty in the marketplace.” The SEC should also consider and issue expedited no-action letters.
- The SEC, Chamber said, should also expand the definition of accredited investor to include those with experience or educational backgrounds that demonstrate subject matter expertise to broaden smaller-dollar, main street investments.
- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission should provide more guidance and broadly consider expedited no-action letters for cryptocurrency.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said at the Wednesday event that fintech is “almost a cliché,” as many “new companies” will instead say “they are in small-business lending, debt refinancing, digital payments or wealth management.”
McHenry said that innovation in the fintech space will “require a partnership among fintech, banks and Washington.”
If ever “Washington needs to regulate in the space, it needs to find ‘right touch’ regulation,” he said, “and not fall back to … the ‘regulatory feedback loop’ where the answer to the unintended consequences of regulation is to create new regulations.”
McHenry is currently working to reintroduce this year H.R. 6118, a bill he introduced last year that establishes a federal regulatory framework giving financial services companies and entrepreneurs the flexibility they need to go to market sooner with innovative, new financial technology products.
He has also sponsored H.R. 3299, the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017, which passed the House in February and reaffirms the longstanding legal precedent under federal banking laws that preempts a loan’s interest as valid when made.
The Republican congressman from North Carolina also sponsored H.R. 3860, the IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017, bipartisan legislation to require the Internal Revenue Service to automate the Income Verification Express Services process by creating an application programming Iinterface allowing small businesses and consumers to access accurate credit assessments more efficiently.
The Chamber threw its support behind the bill, stating that the House and Senate should “swiftly consider” H.R. 3860, as it “would drastically improve underwriting times by providing real-time responses for income verification.”
The bipartisan bill, previously passed out of the House in the IRS Reform Bill by over 400 votes, “would make it easier for qualified consumers and small businesses to receive the funds they need simply by making technological upgrades at the IRS,” the Chamber said.
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