Month: July 2020

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to US OCC in Response to its ANPR on Digital Activities

FDATA North America Submits Comments to US OCC in Response to its ANPR on Digital Activities

July 29, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, FDATA North America submitted comments to the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in response to its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) regarding national bank and federal savings associations digital activities.

In its comments, FDATA North America praises the OCC for recognizing that the US banking system is not “frozen in time” and that innovation and safety and soundness are not mutually exclusive principles. The association also notes that as the OCC attempts to strike the right balance between these principles, it should observe the experiences of other markets around the world and create an open finance ecosystem that has a consumer’s right to access and share their own data as its centerpiece.

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America OCC ANPR Submission

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FDATA North America Welcomes Two New Members

FDATA North America Welcomes Two New Members

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, krushton@allonadvocacy.com

July 28, 2020, Washington, DC – The Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America today announced it has added two new members, boosting the organization’s roster of member companies and organizations united behind the notion that consumers and small businesses should have full utility over their own financial data.

“Innovation in financial services is powered by consumers and small businesses granting permission for access and use of their data, often in conjunction with cutting edge machine learning and other data analytics technologies that enable better financial access and inclusion,” said FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms. “As consumers and businesses continue to face a deteriorating economic landscape because of COVID-19, it is critical to maintain competition in the market for these data-driven financial services. Equitable Bank and Xero are committed to that mission, and we’re excited to welcome them to our growing list of advocates supporting an open finance system in the United States and Canada.”

The following organizations recently joined FDATA North America:

  • Equitable (EQ) Bank has grown to become Canada’s ninth largest independent Schedule I bank through its proven branchless approach and customer service focus in providing residential lending, commercial lending, and savings solutions. EQ Bank, the digital banking platform offered by Equitable Bank, provides state-of-the-art digital banking services.
  • Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services. Xero provides business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position and performance in a way that’s simple, smart and secure. For accountants, Xero forges a trusted relationship with clients through online collaboration.

These firms discussed the importance of FDATA North’s mission to advance data access and open banking in North America:

  • Equitable Bank’s Chief Information Officer Dan Dickinson: “In joining FDATA, we’re furthering our commitment to the industry, our customers and consumers more broadly to make banking better for everyone. We have a long-standing focus on the need for robust open banking practices in Canada and this partnership is another way we’re gaining insights and helping to move the needle on greater access to financial data for all.”
  • Xero Partnerships Manager Jon Bellamy: “Xero is committed to improving the environment for small businesses. Open Banking is a critical aspect of that, aiding their digital transformation. By joining FDATA we will be able to plan for important regulation and have a stronger industry voice as we represent the interests of our customers.”

Existing FDATA North America members include: air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), API Metrics, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Equifax, Experian, Fintech Growth Syndicate (FGS), Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica and others.


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.

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FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, krushton@allonadvocacy.com

July 17, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America released a paper on competition issues surrounding customer-directed finance and the financial data access competitive landscape in Canada. The paper’s release comes ahead of a virtual presentation by FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms, Senator Colin Deacon, and Michael Binetti, partner at Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP.

A replay of the webinar can be found here.

Consumers and small businesses in Canada have become increasingly reliant on financial services and products offered by financial technology (“fintech”) providers. Today, as many as four million Canadians utilize fintech tools to improve their financial wellbeing. Regardless of the type of product or service offered by fintech firms, all rely on the ability of the consumer or small business to grant them access to their financial data, which is typically held at a financial institution.

The paper, “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services in Canada,” outlines how restrictions on consumer-directed access to individual financial data raise serious competition concerns in the market for data-driven financial services and underscores the need for the Canadian government to advance a customer-directed finance ecosystem.

“The financial impact from COVID-19 – and the government’s refusal to allow fintech lenders to participate in its response – is the latest in a growing string of examples that underscore the need for Canada to have a customer-directed finance regime as soon as possible,” said Senator Colin Deacon. “FDATA North America’s paper makes clear that the absence of such a regime is actively thwarting competition in the financial marketplace. Accordingly, I urge the Department of Finance to expedite its consultation process and to submit to Parliament draft legislation as soon as possible that would allow Canada to join the growing number of innovative economies that provide consumers and small businesses choice and autonomy over their financial data.”

Highlights from “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services in Canada”:

  • The innovation in financial services is powered by consumers and small businesses granting permission for access and use of their data, often in conjunction with cutting edge machine learning and other data analytics technology.
  • As consumers and businesses face a deteriorating economic landscape, it is critical to maintain competition in the market for these data-driven financial services.
  • Competition issues cannot take a back seat as the regulatory and technological framework in data sharing continues to evolve. As open finance develops, competition laws provide a critical backstop to ensure that existing competition in the market for data-driven consumer financial services is not stifled.

Click here to read the paper.


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. Existing FDATA North America members include: air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), API Metrics, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, EQ Bank, Experian, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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Member Spotlight: Flinks

 

Founded in 2016, Flinks is a Montreal-based company that empowers businesses to provide better financial services to consumers and small businesses. Data security and privacy are among the company’s very top priorities.

By virtue of its information security program, Flinks invests heavily in state-of-the-art security measures and approaches its operations with a “privacy by design” mindset. These measures make the Flinks environment extremely robust from a data protection standpoint. And while Canada waits for open banking to specifically regulate the sharing of financial data, Flinks operates under and is compliant with the relevant applicable privacy laws, including PIPEDA, Canada’s federal privacy and data protection law.

All of the data handled by Flinks is collected, used and shared per the consumer’s direction, following consent protocols that are explicit and easy to understand. Consumers also have the opportunity to request Flinks to correct, update, or erase their personal information in the company’s records. In short, they are in complete control and can withdraw their consent from Flinks to share their data at any time.

Flinks CEO Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf says implementing an open banking framework in Canada will make it even easier to secure consumers’ information and ensure their privacy. As Flinks’ Data Protection Officer Francis Lepine said in this blog post, open banking really is the modernization of existing banking policies. “Sharing bank and financial information has been a common thing to ask consumers for years. All sorts of institutions and businesses rely on void checks, bank statements and tax returns to operate and deliver services,” said Lepine. “Too often, such sensitive information is shared through email — and we’ve heard of even less secure means of communication being used.”

Flinks is enabling a financial system that benefits underserved populations, for example in the area of access to credit. While the traditional credit scoring systems work well for financially active and well-off consumers, they can inhibit companies and individuals that are just getting started, or trying to recover from financial hardship. Credit reports also are slow to capture sudden changes in a person’s financial situation; underwriting models based on financial data can allow for a more real-time, granular picture.

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