Washington, D.C. – New Congressional hearings today on crypto regulation will likely fail to adequately address the many risks that the industry posed to consumers, investors and financial markets by crypto assets and actors, according to advocates with Americans for Financial Reform and Demand Progress.
AFREF and Demand Progress Education Fund submitted comments to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in response to the agency’s request for information regarding the risks, limitations and purported benefits of blockchain technology (including regarding central bank digital currencies), to help inform the government’s research and development agenda on blockchain. The submission raised concerns about the technological limits and risks of blockchain as used for both financial and non-financial applications, as well as a variety of risks, and urged the OSTP to take a more balanced and sober look at blockchain in view of these limitations.
AFREF joined experts in the field in submitting comments calling on the FHFA Office of Financial Technology to ensure that new applications of fintech to housing finance do not violate consumer protections or fair housing violations. Specific recommendations are made to avoid algorithmic bias and e-signature fraud, along with a general principle of caution when approving new fintech practices.
Congressional Testimony: Senior Policy Analyst Renita Marcellin Testifies at HFSC’s Digital Wallet Hearing
AFR’s Senior Policy Analyst Renita Marcellin testified at the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force on Financial Technology’s hearing “What’s in Your Digital Wallet? A Review of Recent Trends in Mobile Banking and Payments.”
News Release: Banks, Credit Unions and Consumer Groups Call for Passage of Bipartisan Solution to Close ILC Loophole
Washington, D.C. — A broad coalition of bank and credit union associations and consumer organizations submitted a letter today to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services urging passage of the Close the ILC Loophole Act, introduced by Representatives Chuy Garcia (D-IL) and Lance Gooden (R-TX).
We, the undersigned organizations, write to you as advocates of transparency in digital asset markets. The cryptocurrency market boom has led to large corporations investing in the field, including Facebook (now Meta), whose problematic “Libra” cryptocurrency proposal was scrutinized in a 2019 hearing held by the Committee, at your direction. Facebook has since abandoned the project in light of the concerns raised at this hearing and due to push back from policymakers, public interest organizations, and financial regulators.
AFREF joined a letter opposing the online lender Figure Bank’s application for a charter.
Letters to Regulators: Letter Urging CFPB Oversight of New Products like Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Loans, Income Share Agreements, Cash Advances, “Fintech” Overdraft or Overdraft Avoidance Products, and Earned Wage Access Products or Look-Alike Products
AFREF joined a letter urging CFPB oversight of new products like buy now, pay later (BNPL) loans, income share agreements, cash advances, “fintech” overdraft or overdraft avoidance products, and earned wage access products or look-alike products that are evading consumer protection laws and creating debt traps for consumers. The letter states that the CFPB should supervise providers and ensure that each of these products are complying with applicable consumer protection laws.
Testimony: License to Bank – Examining the Legal Framework Governing Who Can Lend and Process Payments in the Fintech Age
What industry calls “innovation” is often easily mapped to a longstanding financial service and therefore the existing laws should apply. At the same time, certain tools and certain forms of partnerships should have no place in our economy whatsoever. Treating innovation as an unqualified good leads regulators to ignore both considerations of equity and long-term, sustainable innovation. Give the interface between powerful corporations, complex products, and the public, precaution should be the norm, as it is in food and drug regulation.
AFREF and Demand Progress submitted comments to the FDIC on setting standards for fintech companies.