With the recent news from the OCC and a new administration in Washington, regulation of fintech is top of mind for everyone in the industry. The president of the San Francisco Fed, John C. Williams, joined us at LendIt USA 2016 to discuss fintech regulation in his keynote address.
He believes right now is a critically important time to have an open and honest dialogue about fintech and its role in the financial system. Fintech holds a lot of promise, it can help to improve efficiencies in the current system and can help the overall economy be more successful in achieving its fundamental goals.
The laws of innovation often mirror the laws of physics, for every great stride there is an equal and opposite risk. While he discussed the fact that innovation holds a lot of potential, the regulatory structure needs to asses the risks and ensure correct protections are in place.
Fintech companies are currently lowering costs, increasing access to the underbanked and helping to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods. One of his biggest points was even though fintech is looking to help the impoverished, it can actually hurt them the most as bad actors will prey upon the vulnerable.
Williams covers vigilance and a level playing field, looking at how the industry can help improve many different facets of the financial system but at the same time ensuring those in this burgeoning market do not pose a risk to the financial system. As he was beginning to wrap up his speech to allow for an interactive Q&A with the audience, Mr. Williams said he sees the potency of the possible in fintech.