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FDATA North America Welcomes Five New Members

FDATA North America Welcomes Five New Members

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

July 9, Washington, DC – The Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America today announced it added five new members in June, bringing the association’s total membership to 22.

“The remarkable growth over the last month indicates support for Open Banking in the United States, Canada and Mexico is expanding rapidly,” said FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms. “Financial technology firms are eager to engage in Ottawa, Washington, D.C. and Mexico City in an effort to create a modern and safe system that puts consumers in charge of their data, and their financial lives. As Open Banking increasingly becomes a global phenomenon, we hope FDATA’s growing presence will spur policymakers in North America to act with the same haste.”

The following organizations joined FDATA North America in the last month:

  • Axcess. Based in Ontario and Victoria, Australia, Axcess provides solutions in the product management area, including loans and investments, to financial institutions.
  • Mogo. Serving more than 800,000 consumers throughout Canada, Mogo leverages technology and design to help users manage their finances and improve their financial health.
  • The ID Co. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland with operations in Canada, The ID Co. works with banks, lenders, innovators and nonprofits to help businesses use their financial data to expand.
  • TransUnion. With operations throughout North America, TransUnion uses credit data to provides the tools and insight that consumers need to make informed financial decisions.
  • Wealthica. Based in Montreal, Wealthica works with more than 60 Canadian financial institutions to give consumers an unbiased view of their investments.

“In the United Kingdom, nearly 10,000 consumers a day are signing up to access the Open Banking network,” said FDATA Global Chair Gavin Littlejohn. “Our member companies were an important part of the movement that is giving consumers more control over their financial data in Europe. To ensure their constituents have the same opportunities, North American policymakers must move quickly but deliberately. Axcess, Mogo, The ID Co., TransUnion and Wealthica, along with FDATA North America’s other member companies, provide some of the most innovative products on the market today. We look forward to a landscape where more consumers and businesses can capitalize on these tools.”

Existing FDATA North America members include: Cardlytics, Envestnet Yodlee, Flinks, Intuit, Kabbage, Lendified, Moven, Morningstsar, MX, Onist, Questrade, Quicken Loans, Petal and Plaid, among others.

FDATA North America recently published white papers for Canadian and U.S. policymakers that outline the benefits of Open Banking and provide policy and oversight recommendations for lawmakers and regulators. “Opportunities in Open Banking” for the United States is here. The Canadian paper is here.


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 Highlights Importance of Consumer Data Ownership Before U.S. Congress

In advance of the first hearing of the United States House of Representatives’ Task Force on Financial Technology, titled “Overseeing the Fintech Revolution: Domestic and International Perspectives on Fintech Regulation,” the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America submitted a Letter for the Record on the importance of adopting a modernized financial regime, similar to other countries around the world, that provides consumers with the legal right to their financial data in a well-managed, safe and secure ecosystem.

To read FDATA North America’s Letter for the Record, click here.

For more information on the Fintech Task Force hearing taking place on June 25, 2019, click here.

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Financial Data and Technology Association and OpenID Foundation in Global Agreement

Not-for-profits to campaign jointly on open finance initiatives.

The OpenID Foundation (OIDF), the international standardization organization which maintains a standard known as the Financial-grade API (FAPI), and the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA Global), the global trade association for companies working to promote ‘open finance’ and best practice financial data sharing, have signed a liaison agreement to enable them to work jointly across the world.

Under the agreement, FDATA Global, with chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, will lead policy efforts to implement open banking frameworks across the globe while OIDF will focus on the technology behind a digital identity solution. The agreement will:

  1. Provide a mechanism for the parties to work together on mutually approved white papers, press releases, activities, presentations and other communications;
  2. Allow participation of each party’s staff and members in the other party’s meetings, as mutually agreed by both parties;
  3. Provide a line of communications in order for the parties to communicate (without obligation and only to the extent each party chooses) about new work under consideration and about upcoming meetings;
  4. Support their common goals, including where appropriate and mutually agreed, to promote common standards across markets, and to collaborate on the development and implementation of certain standards and publications of common interest; and
  5. Avoid market confusion regarding their respective organizations and activities.

FDATA Global works with governments, regulatory authorities, and the financial services industries to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology, including advocating for the adoption of open banking frameworks and open banking standards.

The OIDF is an international standards development organization of leading identity and security architects, with a broad range of communities and companies developing open standards that enable firms and customers to safely interact in digital channels. The FAPI working group of OIDF has collaborated to produce the FAPI security profile, which is an integrated set of schemas, security and privacy recommendations and protocols which enables common connections that enable API to easily connect and for financial data to be safely shared and privacy protected.

As Open Banking and Open Finance initiatives develop across the world, the FAPI profile will be the starting point for markets seeking to reduce complexity, risk and engineering costs, making it easier for firms to connect and test their APIs.

Commenting, FDATA Global’s Chairman Gavin Littlejohn said:
“Open finance is the single biggest movement in financial services globally. It will change the world, and it will change the lives of young and old, rich and poor.

“The core components of delivering this change are the enshrining of the customer’s right to share their data, a regulatory environment that supports this right and an implementation capability that transitions the market access to high quality secure APIs.

“In the UK API initiative, the introduction of the FAPI security profile and FAPI conformance testing suites ensured that both sides of the API connection conformed to the profile. This had a transformational impact on the implementation experience, making connections easier between banks and fintech firms, making it easier for regulators to understand that security standards were being met, and greatly reduced the complex engineering and maintenance costs across the industry.

“As the Australian, Japanese, US and some of the European groups are developing their API initiatives, it is great to see the FAPI Security Profile discussed in the standardization agenda. FDATA Global is happy to be able to support the brilliant work of the OIDF and recommend that the FAPI working group output become the starting point of that conversation and a cornerstone of the implementation experience.”

Don Thibeau, Executive Director of the OpenID Foundation, said:
“The development of open global standards like FAPI require the painstaking commitment and contributions of a wide variety of companies, communities and individual developers. This is demonstrated in the ongoing work of the OpenID Foundation’s FAPI Work Group and the leadership of Nomura Research, Microsoft, Intuit and many others. Open standards are only as valuable as their adoption and adoption is driven by trust.  The FAPI Self Certification Test Suite enables trust by helping assure interoperability across computing platforms and international regulatory regimes.

“Our collaboration with FDATA and others demonstrates the importance of the ongoing improvement of trusted standards and certification tests needed by a diverse and dynamic set of financial services players. Open Standards like FAPI enable the easy to use, secure and privacy protecting solutions for clients, consumers and consumers worldwide.”


NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. FDATA Global is a not-for-profit global association for financial services companies operating in fintech. Our members provide innovative financial applications and services to empower customers to make better decisions and take fuller control of their financial lives across all their accounts, credit cards, loans and investments. We seek to work with government, regulatory authorities and the financial services industry in our mission to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology. We have chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, with other territories being developed. www.fdata.global
  2. The OpenID Foundation promotes, protects and nurtures the OpenID community and technologies. It is a non-profit international standardization organization of individuals and companies committed to enabling, promoting and protecting OpenID technologies. Formed in June 2007, the foundation serves as a public trust organization representing the open community of developers, vendors, and users. OIDF assists the community by providing needed infrastructure and help in promoting and supporting expanded adoption of OpenID. This entails managing intellectual property and brand marks as well as fostering viral growth and global participation in the proliferation of OpenID. www.openid.net
  3. Images of Gavin Littlejohn and Don Thibeau can be downloaded via the links.
  4. For more information on FDATA contact Andy Maciver, Message Matters, +44 (0)7855 261 244, andy@messagematters.co.uk
  5. For more information on OIDF contact Don Thibeau atdirector@oidf.orgor Michelle Parkes at michelle.parkes@oidf.org
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FDATA North America Highlights Benefits of Open Banking for U.S. Consumers

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

April 2, 2019, Washington, DC – The Financial Data and Technology Association of North America today released a new paper, “Opportunities in Open Banking,” that outlines the benefits of open banking for U.S. consumers, businesses, financial institutions and the economy.

“The ‘data revolution’ is reshaping nearly every element of Americans’ lives – how we connect, communicate, travel and work,” said FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms. “It’s also fueling a fundamental shift in how people and businesses spend, save and manage money around the world. To spur improved financial outcomes and to keep up with global innovation, policymakers in the United States should implement an open banking regime that provides consumers with the legal right to their financial data and builds appropriate safeguards around a well-managed ecosystem.”

The new paper discusses:

  • The consumer demand for open banking and why the right to share data is at the heart of it;
  • The benefits of open banking, including empowering customer choice, ensuring customer protection and enabling industry innovation;
  • Consumer consent in an Open Banking system;
  • How data and technology are shared and utilized in an open banking ecosystem; and
  • Policy and oversight recommendations for U.S. lawmakers and regulators.

“If implemented properly, open banking will preserve the security and stability of the financial system while empowering customers and accelerating opportunities for innovation,” said Boms. “This paper provides an outline for success in the United States, based on lessons learned from other jurisdictions. Other countries, including Canada, Australia, Russia and China are moving swiftly in the direction of open banking. U.S. policymakers must act if they want to enhance financial inclusion and ensure their constituents to have similar opportunities for financial success.”

FDATA North America also recently submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking in response to its request for information on data privacy. In that letter, Boms argued, “Under an Open Banking system, data empowerment goes hand in hand with data privacy. By placing consumers and small businesses – the owners of financial data – at the center of the framework, end users are given complete control over their data. This construct provides them with the opportunity to improve their financial wellbeing by empowering them to use their data for value-based services of their choice, and to control which entities have access to their financial data at all times.”

FDATA’s “Opportunities in Open Banking” is available here. The letter to the Banking Committee is here.


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 by several firms whose technology-based products and services allow consumers and small businesses to improve their financial wellbeing. Its members provide approximately 3.5 million Canadians, or roughly 15 per cent of Canada’s adult population, with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

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FDATA North America Highlights Benefits of Open Banking for Canadian Consumers

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

March 20, 2019, Washington, DC – In advance of a Canada Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce hearing on March 21, the Financial Data and Technology Association today released a new paper, “Opportunities in Open Banking,” that outlines the benefits of open banking for Canadian consumers, businesses, financial institutions and the economy. Executive Director Steve Boms will testify before the committee tomorrow to present the paper.

“Canadians increasingly depend on technology-powered tools to improve their financial lives,” said Boms. “To foster innovation and spur improved financial outcomes, Canada should implement an open banking regime that provides consumers with the legal right to their financial data and builds appropriate safeguards around a well-managed ecosystem. For the sake of consumers’ financial wellbeing and innovation, the time to act is now.”

The new paper discusses:

  • What open banking is and how it recognizes consumer demand and needs make it necessary to share financial data;
  • The benefits of open banking, including empowering customer choice, ensuring customer protection and enabling industry innovation;
  • The need to ensure consumer access, consent and protection;
  • A discussion of how data and technology are shared and utilized in an open banking ecosystem; and
  • The importance of implementing effective policy and regulatory oversight.

“If implemented properly, open banking can preserve the security and stability of the financial system while empowering customers and accelerating opportunities for innovation,” said Boms. “This paper provides an outline for success, based on lessons learned from other jurisdictions.”

In his testimony before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, Boms also will discuss how open banking has been embraced by other countries, outlining how the technology-powered products and services provided by incumbent financial services and fintech firms are supporting consumers and businesses as they manage and improve their finances. “Canadian consumers are already demanding the same opportunity, and they deserve to receive it,” Boms will conclude.

FDATA’s “Opportunities in Open Banking” is available here. The hearing will begin at 10:30am EST. To watch via webcast, click here. Boms’ written statement is available here.


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 by several firms whose technology-based products and services allow consumers and small businesses to improve their financial wellbeing. Its members provide approximately 3.5 million Canadians, or roughly 15 per cent of Canada’s adult population, with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances.

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Open Banking in the UK: Setting the Record Straight 

Across the world, governments, regulators, banks and fintechs are talking about open banking, and also trying to follow the progress and success of UK Open Banking. They sense excitement, threat and opportunity, and there is much talk about innovation, security, standards and risk. But are we all talking about the same thing? What ​is ‘open banking’?

Image result for paperclip iconSetting the record straight on UK Open Banking – Feb 2019

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Open Banking: The Bipartisan Issue of 2019

Steve Boms

first appeared on Morning Consult

While the U.S. government hobbles from one crisis to the next — the partial shutdown is just the latest example — policymakers in several other countries are staking out long-term positions that embrace financial technology innovation for the benefit of their citizens.

On open banking, we must catch up, and there’s hope we can. Despite partisan gulfs on so many other major issues, there’s broad bipartisan excitement about open banking.

Richard Cordray and Mick Mulvaney were ideologically far apart, but the last two heads of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau agreed the agency should nurture innovators developing technology to empower open banking. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who likely will chair the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, authored a bill requiring federal regulators to study open banking.

And in its July 2018 report on financial technology regulation, the Treasury Department acknowledged the importance of open banking (and warned the United States is falling behind). Craig Phillips, counselor to Secretary Steve Mnuchin, has said open banking is needed to maintain U.S. global competitiveness in financial markets.

Open banking — the process by which consumers can access and share their financial information with third-party, technology-powered tools — allows individuals and small businesses to track all their accounts in one place, manage expenses or gain access to affordable credit.

The emergence of these platforms is a natural evolution of the market. For decades, consumers and businesses have shared their receipts and paper bank and investment statements with their financial advisers, accountants and underwriters to file tax returns, manage investment accounts or submit loan applications. The technology tools on which today’s end users rely simply digitize this process.

The United Kingdom already has implemented an open banking regime. At the behest of parliament, the Canadian Department of Finance recently kicked off formal consultations on the matter. Australia, India and South Africa, among others, also are well on their way.

The U.S. regulatory landscape for consumer financial data access is much more complex than in other countries. The first step toward open banking here is to remove obstacles that prevent individuals and small businesses from using or getting the most out of them.

The predominant barrier is that the United States has no legal requirement that compels a financial institution to make the consumer financial data it holds available to a third party. This is true even when customers provide affirmative consent asking the institution to help share their data. As Treasury also noted in its fintech report, amidst an ambiguous regulatory regime that never envisioned financial data as a commodity, some financial institutions are reluctant to grant this permission.

Changing this system won’t be easy.

One of the systemic disadvantages facing U.S. policymakers compared with lawmakers and regulators in other countries is the immense regulatory fragmentation that exists here. In the UK, for example, two agencies represent the totality of regulatory authorities required to implement open banking. There are at least eight U.S. federal regulatory agencies — the CFPB, the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve among them — with jurisdiction over at least some portion of financial data access. There also are state regulatory authorities.

In its fintech report, Treasury affirmed that Dodd-Frank Section 1033, which calls for financial institutions to make customers’ own financial data electronically available to them, includes third parties properly authorized by consumers, as well. The CFPB has the authority to — and should immediately — address existing regulatory fragmentation by adopting a rule that formalizes this interpretation of Section 1033.

The CFPB also must work with the private sector to develop best practices on disclosures and terms and conditions regarding consumers’ use of products and services powered by consumer financial account and transaction data provided by data aggregators and financial services companies. It also must work with other prudential regulators to harmonize bank vendor and third-party guidance and remove ambiguity stemming from the third-party guidance that discourages banks from moving to more secure methods of data access.

Solving these issues is imperative. As other countries implement open banking frameworks, the U.S. market is at risk of losing pace internationally with the development and delivery of new, innovative financial tools for consumers.

Globally, the fintech market attracted more than $31 billion in 2017, with the United States attracting more than half the investment in the market. Greater domestic coordination that provides harmonization, rather than divergence, would spur more innovation and improved consumer and small business financial outcomes.

Steve Boms is the executive director of the Financial Data and Technology Association of North America.

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The consumer case for open banking

Steve Boms

First appeared in The Globe & Mail

Collectively, the fintech members of the Financial Data and Technology Association of North America provide approximately 3.5 million Canadians – about 15 per cent of the country’s adult population – with access to new, technology-powered financial tools that help them manage their finances. Despite an ambiguous regulatory environment that can sometimes lead to blockages and restrictions from their banks, these consumers and small businesses have voted with their smartphones in favour of financial technology.

While fintech adoption in Canada continues to grow, an unclear regulatory environment prevents millions more Canadians from fully accessing the benefits of these technology-based tools. Finance Canada, though, has formed an Open Banking Advisory Committee and recently kicked off a formal open-banking consultation, inviting input from the public and market stakeholders across the country.

For the 85 per cent of adult Canadians who are not today benefiting from these new technology platforms to help them manage their finances, it is well past time. Britain and the European Union already have implemented open banking frameworks, and India, Australia, Mexico and South Africa are making strides. Consumers here risk being left behind.

Based on Britain’s experience, we know open banking stimulates investment and innovation in platforms and programs that will help consumers improve their financial well-being. Services will be more insightful and intuitive. With more competition and transparency, products will be better priced. Financial inclusion for less sophisticated consumers will improve. Frustration in linking with or switching service providers will be radically reduced. Best of all, if done right, open banking can achieve this all while ensuring consumers’ and small businesses’ risks are properly managed by fully regulated market actors who are prepared to make them whole if something goes wrong.

In short, consumers will be able to trust the new ecosystem and avoid bad actors.

It’s not only individual Canadians who will benefit. Small businesses, able to use their financial data with whatever well-regulated technology provider they choose, will have access to automated banking and accounting tools; affordable, cash-flow underwritten capital; more efficient, quicker payment platforms; and other benefits.

To achieve these outcomes, Finance Canada first must recognize that customers, not banks, own their financial data. In Canada today, there is no legal requirement that financial institutions allow their customers to share their account data with other service providers. These institutions can decide whether a customer is permitted to share data with third-party financial technology firms, or anyone else who might assist with managing their finances. As a result of regulatory ambiguity and, in some cases, security concerns, financial institutions can currently restrict or even prohibit third-party access to customer data, even when their customer explicitly requests their information be shared.

Although most fintech is new, the underlying need to share financial data with service providers has existed for generations. Consumers and small businesses have had to take paper statements, receipts and financial information to advisers and accountants to prepare their taxes, manage investments or file loan applications. The promulgation of fintech tools has merely made these processes more efficient and widely accessible. Ultimately, open banking is the 21st-century equivalent of a process that has existed in financial services for centuries: With their consent, consumers and small businesses can affirmatively grant access to a trusted third-party financial provider of their choice to receive a product or service of their choosing.

To ensure consumers and small-business owners are protected in this modern system, open banking will require a third-party provider to obtain explicit consent from a consumer, using disclosures that can be plainly understood. Consumers and small businesses will be permitted to opt out of using a service – and sharing their data – at any time. And all parties in the system will be appropriately regulated to ensure the protection of their customers. Most importantly, no financial institution will be able to dictate to its customers whether or not they are able to take advantage of third-party tools to improve their finances, just as they can’t dictate to their customers with whom they can share their paper statements.

Canadians today hold nearly $600-billion in non-mortgage debt. Interest rates are rising and delinquencies could increase along with them. With better access to fintech platforms, millions of Canadians could better manage their financial lives. As Finance Canada formally kicks off its review of open banking, it’s time to empower the 85 per cent of Canadians who are not yet benefiting from financial technology.

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