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Member Spotlight: TransUnion


TransUnion has been on the cutting edge of consumer data technology for more than half a century and is one of the world’s leading global information and insights companies. TransUnion serves consumers in more than 30 countries on five continents. In the United States alone, more than 166 million people have received free access to their credit information through TransUnion or its partners.

Information for good is TransUnion’s mission and the company is focused on using data to enhance financial inclusion. Helping individuals who too often have been left behind by traditional systems, the company’s alternative data assets can help create a more complete picture of a consumer’s risk profile. To date through trended and alternative financial data, TransUnion has helped 35 million credit invisible or credit-disadvantaged people gain greater access to credit. If scaled, the company estimates that the inclusion of alternative financial data could help an additional 60 million people gain access to credit.

TransUnion has long been an advocate for the use of alternative financial data. The company’s President & CEO, Chris Cartwright remarked “If alternative data is widely captured on credit reports and used by lenders in credit underwriting, the benefits would cascade across generations and all corners of America.” Because of that “more families would be able to flourish in the financial ecosystem, constructing legacies of prosperity they can pass along to their children,” he added.

As financial institutions look for new ways to support financial inclusion, TransUnion remains committed to doing their part to create a better future and more fair society. They recognize this important work is just beginning and their goal will be met once equity and credit access is an integral part of an economy where no American is left behind.

For more information on TransUnion, please visit www.transunion.com

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Member Spotlight: Petal


Technology has changed the way people bank, invest, and manage their money. Petal takes a new approach to consumer credit, enabling customers to use their own bank account data – rather than a traditional credit report – to access safe and affordable financial products and services and to build credit, avoid debt, and spend responsibly.

Traditional banks often rely on outdated measures of creditworthiness, such as traditional bureau-based credit scores, in determining which consumers get approved for a new loan or line of credit. This approach has resulted in the tens of millions of Americans with thin or no credit files being unable to access financial products such as car loans, credit cards, or mortgages. To address this problem, Petal offers credit cards (issued by WebBank) to consumers based on “cash flow underwriting” – using a customer’s bank transaction history to evaluate their creditworthiness, examining income, savings, and spending patterns. The insights gained from cash flow underwriting have allowed Petal to expand access to the financial system to many American consumers who otherwise would not have received credit and enable these consumers to build credit profiles to help them access additional products and services. The majority of Petal members had little to no credit history when approved, and more than 40% were previously denied credit by a major bank or card issuer. Petal members with no prior credit history achieve an average credit score of 680 after just a few months of responsible use.

The Petal card goes beyond providing access to credit: it has numerous features designed to help members succeed financially. Petal’s Leap program provides a clear pathway for members to qualify for a credit limit increase, while also promoting responsible financial behavior. Customers enrolled in Petal’s Leap program that make six on-time monthly payments in a row and maintain a healthy credit score are guaranteed a credit limit increase. The Leap tab on Petal’s mobile app provides a convenient platform for customers to track their progress and includes customized suggestions for members to improve their financial health and build their credit profile. In addition, Petal distinguishes itself from other credit cards by encouraging customers to pay their full balance each month. Mainstream credit cards, meanwhile, often put consumers on a more expensive path by making “pay the minimum” the starting point. Petal members who cannot pay the full balance can use the Petal app’s payments calculator to easily understand exactly how much interest they will owe. Petal has also offered incentives, including a chance to win up to $500, to encourage members to pay more than the minimum on their monthly statement. Finally, to further encourage financial responsibility, Petal provides qualifying members with extra cash back on purchases – beyond the standard 1% – when they establish a history of making on-time monthly payments.

In April 2021, Petal launched Prism Data, a new company that enables banks, fintechs and other business customers to translate consumer-permissioned bank account data into useful insights and a CashScore that can help determine creditworthiness. By integrating Prism Data into their lending applications, users can improve their ability to reach consumers that have been left out of the mainstream financial system – particularly those who are credit invisible. Prism Data was founded on the belief that open banking and access to consumer-permissioned bank account transactional data will change the way consumer finance works. When announcing Prism Data, Jason Gross, Petal CEO and co-founder, said, “Prism Data is the next great step in furthering Petal’s original mission to democratize access to credit, now by empowering other organizations to serve more customers, build better products, and make smarter decisions.”

Petal’s success at reaching traditionally underserved consumers has demonstrated that open banking policies can help expand financial inclusion. In a June 2019 op-ed co-written with FDATA North America, Gross argued that bringing open banking to the United States could help policymakers address the fact that:

  • 45 million Americans cannot access the modern credit system because of a lack of information in their credit report;
  • 4 in 10 American adults don’t have savings necessary to cover a $400 emergency; and
  • American consumers face up to $34 billion in overdraft fees annually.

For more information on Petal’s advocacy for open banking, you can read Petal’s written statement provided as part of the CFPB’s February 2020 symposium on consumer access to financial records, as well as Petal’s submitted comments to CFPB as part of the1033 rulemaking process and a Medium post by CEO Jason Gross published earlier this year titled “Your financial data belongs to you, not your bank.”

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Member Spotlight: Morningstar


Morningstar empowers investor success by providing independent investment data, research, and analysis to investors of all kinds. This spirit of independence and transparency ignited in 1984, when Joe Mansueto left his job as a stock analyst. He realized that investors lacked the information they needed to make intelligent decisions about which investments best fit their plans. At the same time, he saw mutual funds growing in popularity as the tides were shifting away from company pensions to 401(k) plans. What was missing, he thought, was investment research for the average investor. Joe turned his idea into a new business with high aspirations—to help investors reach their financial goals.

Today, Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, debt securities, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with approximately $260 billion in assets under advisement and management as of September 30, 2021. Morningstar is a global firm with operations in 29 countries.

Individual investors use Morningstar to make educated investment decisions. These investors want pertinent facts they can trust from an independent source, delivered in easy-to-understand formats. Financial advisors and other investment professionals turn to Morningstar for tools that help them research, analyze, present, and support their investment ideas. Morningstar’s research, analytics, and investment management services help advisors make more efficient use of their time and deliver better investment outcomes to clients.

The backbone of Morningstar’s independence and transparency is its commitment to research that illuminates investing. Recently published research available on www.morningstar.com includes:

  • The “Morningstar Sustainable Investing Framework” provides the critical need for clarity in the rapidly growing environmental, social, and governance investing space.
  • Morningstar’s behavioral science team recently published, “Drivers of Savings Inequality by Race and Place,” on factors that influence the differences in savings rates in American households.
  • Newly published, “The State of Retirement Income,” reassesses safe withdrawal rates for retirees, finding that the standard rule of thumb should be lowered to 3.3% from 4%.

Morningstar® ByAllAccountsSM and FDATA
Morningstar ByAllAccounts is a data aggregator built to deliver high-quality, interoperable account data for the complex needs of the wealth management industry. It works closely with the FDATA Community and is the only aggregation provider that focuses exclusively on investors, advisors, and the enterprises who support them.

“At ByAllAccounts, the data we provide our customers is mission critical to powering holistic financial planning,” says Katy Gibson, head of product for Morningstar ByAllAccounts. “As such, we are big proponents of open banking because it gives us the ability to connect to reliable and secure data sources with minimal connectivity disruptions. As members of FDATA we will continue to advocate for the investment use case, ensuring the unique needs of investors and professionals that serve them are met.”

For more information on Morningstar and Morningstar ByAllAccounts, click here.

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Member Spotlight: MX


Founded in 2010, MX helps organizations everywhere connect to consumers’ financial data to deliver intelligent and personalized money experiences. MX leads the industry with the most secure, reliable and direct API connections to the world’s top financial institutions using the most advanced AI and machine learning enhancement engine to categorize transaction data with 98 percent coverage. By connecting with 16,000 financial institutions and fintechs, MX provides the industry’s most reliable and secure data connectivity network reaching more than 200 million consumers worldwide.

MX has been a leader in the open banking movement in North America with their approach to modern connectivity. Chief Advocacy Officer, Jane Barratt, explained to Bankrate, “Open banking isn’t something that you only need once when you apply for a mortgage. It means you can use the data that you have, it’s yours, and [you can] share it with companies that can help you improve your financial health. Whether it’s access to cheaper forms of credit, use different money management tools or whether it’s to set up direct payments. There are [numerous things you can do to make] your money more automated and it is all based on data availability.”

With the launch of MXaccess, MX provides an open finance API platform for banks, credit unions, digital banks and digital banking providers. MXaccess improves the data sharing experience for customers by removing friction and frustration due to broken connections caused by screen scraping and provides a transparent and secure method to share data.

In addition to improving the data sharing experience for the financial industry’s ecosystem, Tearsheet recently honored MX with its Best Aggregator/Fintech Partnership Award for 2021. MX won the award for its work with FormFree, a technology company that improves lenders’ ability to make more informed decisions about borrowers and minimizes lenders’ risk via a seamless loan application experience for borrowers. By using MX’s modern connections, the average aggregation time for FormFree connections fell 89 percent, declining from an average of 3 minutes and 30 seconds to just 22 seconds. This improvement boosted FormFree’s revenue by 15 percent.

MX’s CEO Ryan Caldwell has made it clear that MX is on a mission to improve the financial ecosystem by increasing trust, managing risk and enabling the exchange of customer data to improve outcomes and financial health. Last year, Caldwell explained to KSL.com that 80 percent of the U.S. workforce lives paycheck to paycheck causing individuals and families to feel “real pain” and serious stress. MX is helping ease that pain by working with traditional financial institutions and fintechs to aggregate accounts and credit cards into one platform making it easier for individuals and families to make data-driven decisions and become financially strong.

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FDATA North America Joins Industry Trade Groups in Letter to Department of Finance on Implementation of Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Open Banking Report

November 10, 2021, Washington, DC – Last week, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America, along with the Paytechs of Canada Association and the Canadian Lenders Association (CLA), sent a joint letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland requesting that the Department adopt the phase one and two recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Open Banking report and urging its public support for the same.

In the letter, the groups, whose organizations represent nearly 250 financial technology companies, emphasize the importance of swift implementation of the recommendations to ensure Canada remains competitive in the global market. Countries around the world, from the United Kingdom and New Zealand to Australia and the United States, have seen marked improvements in financial access and inclusion through open finance products delivered by technology-based financial services providers. “By contrast, Canadian consumers or small businesses have no legally binding right to their own financial data, which stifles competition and innovation in the financial services marketplace,” the groups state. 

Additionally, the groups state that a delay of implementation of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations open the door for some of Canada’s large financial institutions to dismiss the government’s intention to deliver open finance in line with the report’s recommendations, which undermine the certainty around the commitments.

“It is critically important that the government confirm to financial institutions, financial technology companies, and Canadian consumers and small businesses its intention to implement an open finance regime in line with all of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations,” the groups state. Specifically, they point to the appointment of an open banking lead “as soon as possible,” creating a legally binding financial data right, and beginning work on the Advisory Committee’s second phase, “which must include payment initiation and account creation capabilities, as well as a formal governance entity.” 


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equitable Bank, Experian, Finansystech, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Rocket Mortgage, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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Member Spotlight: Basis Theory


According to Government Technology magazine, there were more than 1,900 data breaches in the United States in 2020. In 2019 and 2020 alone, about 16 billion records were breached, and the average cost for a single breach is $7.7 million for companies with less than 500 employees. Breaches also grew in severity between 2019 and 2020.

At the same time, there are projected to be more than 25 billion internet-connected devices online by the end of this decade. That means more data. In fact, the quantity of data creation is expected to increase to more than 180 zettabytes over the next five years.

These numbers boggle the mind — and they put consumers, businesses, and policymakers on edge.

Enter Basis Theory.

Basis Theory has built a developer platform for encryption and tokenization that can accommodate any type of data (including sensitive payments data). The company, launched in 2021 and fully distributed, helps financial services and financial technology clients stay in complete control of their customer’s data without taking on the compliance burden. The company was built during the COVID-19 pandemic, when, overnight, consumers become even more reliant on technology to shop, order take out, see their doctor and, of course, bank. Over those months of isolation, founders Brian Billingsley, Colin Luce, and Ben Milne and their team of engineers “built a secure PCI-compliant foundation to enable the collection and storage of payments data” on the Basis Theory platform.

Milne has written that he, Billingsley, and Luce wanted to create a company that could “offer a product to developers globally to help make protecting data easier.” Why? As he explained, “In many cases it’s not just about securing data at rest in all of these devices but about enabling privacy for end users ensuring their data only goes to third parties who are capable of protecting it. That’s a trend [that] will continue until it’s solved by a company or a protocol, but more likely some combination of both.”

Basis Theory also helps its clients:

  • Adhere to privacy regulations and comply with new and upcoming regulations, domestically and internationally, including PCI and the new Nacha rules;
  • Optimize payments acceptance;
  • Safely secure and manage user credentials and third-party API keys; and
  • Secure any data, document, or image a client does not want stored in plaintext.

Basis Theory became a part of FDATA North American and the North American open banking movement to “ensure the safety, security and privacy of the continued proliferation of data sprawl and not let any associated concerns stifle innovation within financial services”.

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Member Spotlight: Marble


To win a game of marbles, a player must hit a series of targets. That same goal can be applied to improving a person’s financial standing — which is how FDATA member company Marble got its name. Marbles’ proprietary MyMarble platform utilizes the power of machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence, in leveraging its proven data-driven strategies through technology solutions Inverite, Point Deduction Technology®, Fast-Track and Learn. MyMarble utilizes scientific, algorithmic, and mathematical software that is based on rigorous banking and credit weighted algorithms, that analyzes data to identify where the impacts are placed on a credit files and banking history. This helps consumer engage in and navigate a clear path towards financial wellbeing and a meaningful credit score.

The core success to the MyMarble platform derives from its open banking and data collection strategy through the utilization of Inverite and Score Navigator’s Point Deduction Technology®. Inverite boasts connectivity to 288 Financial Institutions’ access points which is 15X greater than its closest competitor in Canada. Inverite also has the highest (99% vs 93%) implied consumer coverage and the fastest processing time by a factor of two over its competition. Its leading AI-based model Risk Score is trained from millions of banking verification requests and loan outcomes. Inverite has an international presence with coverage of FI’s in the South American market and will continue to expand its AI offering as Marble expands into other global markets.

How does Marble work in practice?

As Marble member Rich explained, the first step is expanding access to vital financial services platforms. Rich was looking for a program to help manage his debts, but most he found had a minimum credit score requirement to even apply. Rich joined Marble’s Premium program on May 30, 2020. He closely followed Marble’s monthly recommendations on when he should pay off certain debts and how much he should be put towards those debts. He also used the company’s simulators to determine what targets he needed to hit to reach his goal credit score. Within nine months, Ryan’s score increased from 480 to 663, a gain of 183 points.

In 2021, Marble launched two new initiatives that will help it serve even more Canadians.

In May, Marble launched GIC Savings Loans with Jenson Graf Risk Management Inc. The partnership will give Jenson Graf a progressive software solution that will automate its GIC Savings Loan application and approval process.

In June, Marble announced it’s new API solution Marble Connect. This revolutionary B2B product utilizes detailed risk assessment, consumer financial data, and a fully functional business & consumer portal. Marble Connect offers Canadian businesses a new turnkey marketing, education, and products solution for the broader audience of consumers looking to execute on more future business to connect through Marble’s financial fitness platform, MyMarble.

What sort of promise does open banking and customer-directed finance hold for Canadians? As Marble Financial CEO Karim Nanji has said, “The amalgamation of customer data provides an opportunity for Marble to offer and deliver more efficient processing and approvals of credit solutions. Ultimately, we collect the customers goals which along with the consolidation of financial data creates an opportunity for us and our partners to access this information to provide new services and more robust solutions in the areas of personal finance, money management including savings, investment, tax and insurance.”

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FDATA North America Congratulates Chopra on Confirmation, Calls for Speedy Action on Open Finance Regulation

 

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, [email protected] 

September 30, 2021, Washington, DC – The Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America today issued a statement following the successful Senate confirmation for Rohit Chopra to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

“We congratulate Mr. Chopra on his confirmation and are eager to work with him and CFPB staff to advance an open finance regime in the United States. Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act authorizes the CFPB to establish by regulation a consumer financial services data right in the United States. The Obama administration recognized a customer’s inherent right to their financial data, and so did the Trump administration. President Biden’s recent competition executive order similarly called for the CFPB to quickly issue a regulation honoring Section 1033. Now that Chopra is confirmed, that work can — and must — move forward.

“With nations across the world moving toward open banking, U.S. policymakers must work quickly to implement a customer-centric, 21st century financial services marketplace that boosts competition, better protects consumers, and helps improve financial inclusion.”


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, EQ Bank, Experian, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Rocket Mortgage, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to US House Consumer Protection Subcommittee on the Future of Banking

September 29, 2021, Washington, DC – Today, FDATA North America submitted a letter for the record for the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions hearing “The Future of Banking: How Consolidation, Nonbank Competition, and Technology are Reshaping the Banking System.” The letter outlines FDATA North America’s mission to advocate for a financial ecosystem in which the end user has complete utility of their financial data.

Throughout the letter, FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms highlighted the steps necessary for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to promulgate, by rule, a customer financial data right that will spur greater financial services innovation and competition as well as improve consumer financial access and inclusion and the importance of the subcommittee in . “As the CFPB works to promulgate a proposed rule under Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act to improve competition in the financial services system, we hope that the subcommittee will continue to examine this vitally important space and encourage the Bureau to use its statutory authority to create a customer-centric, safe, competitive, and secure open finance system in the United States,” Boms stated.

To accomplish the goal of leveling the playing field for consumers and small businesses, expanding financial access and inclusion, improving competition in the financial services marketplace and, on a global level, ensuring that the United States’ financial services system remains competitive internationally, FDATA North America outlined its recommendations to the Bureau that it utilize its Section 1033 authority to issue a rule that adheres to five key principles:

  1. Create a legally binding customer financial data right;
  2. Define and clear enumerate the limited circumstances in which custodians of financial data may override customer consent;
  3. Supervise financial data aggregation firms;
  4. Coordinate with the prudential regulators on Regulation E modernization; and
  5. Recognize the need to permit current and legacy technology

Boms noted that the combination of these principles “would provide consumers and small businesses with safe, secure access to their financial data and, by extension, to critically important financial applications and tools that can meaningfully improve their financial wellbeing.”

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America Letter for the Record on the Future of Banking


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equitable Bank, Experian, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Rocket Mortgage, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to US Financial Regulators’ Request for Comment on Managing Risks Associated with Third-Party Relationships

September 23, 2021, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America submitted comments to the US financial regulators as part of their proposed interagency guidance and request for comment on managing risks associated with third party relationships. The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) sought comments on proposed guidance on sound risk management principles for banking organizations to consider in developing risk management practices for third-party relationships. In its response, FDATA North America expressed that streamlining the ability for banks to partner with third-party providers will be critical to the survival of small and community banks in the United States and to the financial wellness of their customers. 

Throughout the submission, FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms discussed the scope, tailored approach, and information security around these relationships from the perspective of the aggregation and fintech community. “Though the proposed guidance is directed toward insured depository institutions, it directly impacts third-party providers which [FDATA North America] represents and, by extension their customers,” Boms stated. 

Additionally, Boms discussed concern that the OCC’s 2020 FAQs on third-party risk management guidance have increased the complexity of bilateral data access agreement negotiations, thus creating an environment in which “the largest financial institutions are in a position of increased control over whether and how their customers will have the ability so share access to their financial data.” Therefore, Boms expressed that a solution to this problem would be to remove the interpretive role banks play today in this space through the creation of a regulatory structure in which prudential regulators “supervise and retain full responsibility for interactions only between banks and data aggregators,” while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), upon finalization of a rule under Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act, “is similarly responsible for supervising the relationship between data aggregators and third-party providers, and by extension, the end users.” Doing so, Boms stated, would eliminate the “legal grey area” which is currently stifling the growth and innovation of third-party financial tools to the detriment of US consumers. 

FDATA North America urged the agencies to embrace the letter and spirit of the July 2021 Executive Order on promoting competition in the American economy and ensure that any policy changes resulting from the development of this guidance do not interfere with the goals set out in the Order.

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America submission to financial regulators’ request for comment on third-party relationships


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

Members include air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), APImetrics, Basis Theory, Betterment, BillGo, Codat, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, EQ Bank, Experian, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Inverite, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Rocket Mortgage, SaltEdge, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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