House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee Holds Fintech Hearing

On June 8, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a hearing “Improving Consumer’s Financial Options with Fintech.” The hearing focused on consumer financial service has needs, whether the fintech industry is offering financial products and services that meet these needs, and how issues in the fintech realm can be addressed as technology continues to develop. The panel – consisting of fintech industry professionals – offered their perspectives on the current issues within the realms of current fintech advancements, the current regulatory framework, and the consumer experience as these technologies continue to expand their footprints.

Much of the questions from the members of the committee focused on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) recent Fintech Charter. The members pressed the panel for feedback on the risks, rewards, and challenges faced for blockchain companies.

Democrats and many panelists stressed the importance of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its role as the consumer watchdog as fintech companies continue to expand their footprint. A bipartisan group of members expressed concerns regarding fintech’s role in providing access to banking services for underbanked and unbanked consumers. Members suggested that partnerships between traditional and startup financial firms may be helpful in bridging the gap and panelists noted that rural broadband and broadband expansion generally would vastly improve fintech accessibility.