Deadline near for seeking help on federal mortgages

LANSING — The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is reminding Michigan consumers with federally backed mortgages who are worried about falling behind on payments that assistance is available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act but they must act before the Sept. 30 deadline.
“DIFS is encouraging anyone struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 to contact their mortgage lender and discuss the options available to them,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “No one should have to worry about losing their home due to the financial impacts of the pandemic, but time is running short to seek assistance through these programs.”

Under the CARES Act, borrowers with federally backed loans could ask for a pause or reduction of their payments, also known as a forbearance, of up to 180 days, with an extension of 180 days if additional relief is needed. The Biden Administration has extended the forbearance enrollment window through Sept. 30, 2021, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported in August that about 569,000 borrowers in the U.S. are in the early stages of delinquency and have not participated in a forbearance plan.
Individuals with federally backed mortgages, including loans through the U.S. Veterans Benefits Administration (VA loans), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (FHA or HUD loans), and U.S. Department of Agriculture have until Sept. 30 to request an initial forbearance.
Individuals with loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac do not currently have a deadline for requesting an initial forbearance.
The MiMortgage Relief Partnership is also available to assist impacted homeowners in Michigan until Dec. 31, 2021. Through this partnership, more than 230 of Michigan’s financial institutions have agreed to provide mortgage relief to borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Individuals unsure of who owns their mortgage can visit the Federal Housing Finance Agency website.
For more information on COVID-19 related mortgage relief, call DIFS Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time at 877-999-6442.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents.

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Political veteran Lee wants fintech group to educate lawmakers – Roll Call

Penny Lee, a 25-year veteran of political campaigns and legislative battles and now the new head of the Financial Technology Association, has a message for federal banking agencies and Congress: “Please engage with us to craft forward-leaning regulations.”
Lee says “digitally native” companies are eager to engage with policymakers to develop clear guidelines on how to operate in the rapidly evolving fields of online lending, open banking and an innovation called “buy now, pay later.”
“These companies are obviously already operating in highly regulated areas,” Lee told CQ Roll Call. “And what they are trying now to say is, ‘We want to work with regulators; we want to work with members of Congress to find the right framework to guarantee certainty’” for protecting consumers while simultaneously granting people greater access to capital and financial services “in a responsible manner.”
FTA, formed in March and headed by Lee since late July, aims to be the leading organization representing growing technology-centered financial services companies. Its members include fintech data network Plaid Inc.; buy now, pay later service Afterpay Ltd; venture capital firm Ribbit Capital; and credit underwriter and financial software company Zest AI.
Buy now, pay later services allow financing of a purchase over time but at the point of sale function more like a mini-loan than a credit card. Credit cards typically require a minimum payment and charge interest if a balance is not paid in full. For consumers using buy now, pay later services, the interest is already set in full at the time of the purchase. The payback period may be weeks or months.

The nonprofit FTA’s stated mission is to educate regulators, policymakers, members of Congress and industry stakeholders on the value of technology-centered financial services. It advocates for the modernization of financial regulation to support innovation and consumer protection.
Lee draws on long-standing political experience: She was a senior aide to prominent Democrats such as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, and former Democratic National Committee chairman and current Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
The FTA and the financial technology companies it represents aren’t looking to avoid oversight, Lee says.
“They are already adhering to regulations that are on the books,” she said. But because some of their products and services are so novel, the rules may need to be modernized to keep up.
FTA’s heavy hitters
To help educate and convince policymakers on the need to update and refine the current regulatory framework, Lee and the FTA have assembled a powerhouse advisory board made of Washington heavy hitters. They include J. Christopher Giancarlo, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; former Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, who was a founding member of the House Financial Services Task Force on Financial Technology; and Jo Ann Barefoot, a former deputy comptroller of the currency and Senate Banking Committee staff member who now leads the Alliance for Innovative Regulation in Washington.

The FTA is already making its voice heard. In July, it was one of the groups that responded to a multiagency request for information on banks’ use of artificial intelligence, including machine learning, in financial services such as credit underwriting.
It said companies that responsibly build around such technologies “can ultimately offer consumers and market participants enhanced and safer products and service offerings, and expand access to financial services to consumers from traditionally underserved communities.”
As long as the enterprises are “subject to appropriate human oversight,” innovation can replace inefficient, manual, costly, time-consuming and subjective processes. The public comments were sought by banking agencies — the Federal Reserve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and National Credit Union Administration — as fintech becomes more integrated into the financial system.
Lee says FTA will be releasing a policy paper in the next few days on open banking, a broad term that covers data sharing between banks, fintech firms and nonbank payment companies. The group has said open banking “can serve as a catalyst that gives consumers, including those in underserved communities, greater access to their bank data and to additional financial products.”
Lee will run into resistance to the idea that financial technology is always a good thing for consumers.

“Some of these fintechs may have built a better mousetrap, but that doesn’t mean that they have built one that poses fewer risks to customers, investors and financial stability,” said Phillip Basil, director of banking policy at Better Markets, a nonprofit focused on consumer financial issues. He said modernization and innovation can’t “be smokescreens used to justify eliminating critical regulations that protect the public interest,” adding that “fintechs need to be properly regulated, regardless of product or delivery system, however modern they might be.”
Another issue is the granting of federal bank charters to fintech firms. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the New York State Department of Financial Services both say these charters infringe on states’ authority to oversee fintechs operating within their boundaries.
Lee said FTA supports the concept of “optionality,” allowing for businesses to determine the best path forward, whether it be a national bank charter from the comptroller’s office or state-issued industrial loan company license.
That’s opposed by CSBS.
“We do not support institutions trying to obtain privileges of a national bank charter free of the associated obligations,” a CSBS spokesperson wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call. “That is not an option which Congress has enabled. That’s arbitrage, not optionality.”

A hot issue that FTA is bypassing is cryptocurrency. Lee said there are already many other organizations devoted to the regulation of digital assets, while there are other significant fintech areas, such as payments and chartering, that are just as important and haven’t gotten the attention they deserve.
“For now, we are letting the other groups take the lead on all things crypto-related,” she told CQ Roll Call.

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Holy Supports Vance in Ohio’s Crowded Republican Senate Primary – Texas News Today

Exclusive – Missouri Conservative Senator Josh Hawley in the field of crowded flammable candidates competing for Republican Senate nomination in the 2022 race to successfully retire Republican Senator Rob Portman in Ohio We support venture capitalist and best-selling writer JD Vance.
The first approval shared with Fox News on Tuesday is Holy’s first in the 2022 election cycle in the open Republican Senate nomination race.
“We are proud to support JD Vance in the Ohio Senate. JD is well aware of the devastating reality our country is facing. Especially in Ohio, we are plagued by addiction. Family members are stacking cards and the entire town continues to plummet. JD fights Regain solid manufacturing due to tighter restrictions on the southern border, putting the needs of our own American citizens first “I will,” Hurley said in a statement.

Ohio’s Republican primaries will be bigger and more expensive as JD Vance participates in the race
“JD is the only one in front of corruption in our technology industry,” said the first Senator, former Missouri Attorney General, and an ally of former President Donald Trump, who hopes for the potential of the Republican White House in 2024. Candidate. He will crack down on Big Tech succumbing to China, stand up for American workers, and put our country back on track for prosperity and opportunity. “
Vance, who lives in Cincinnati, grew up in a struggling steelworks town and had roots in Kentucky, Appalachian. Collected. movie. Vance, who announced his candidacy in early July, is the first candidate, but he considered the 2018 Republican challenge to Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown before deciding to oppose the implementation.

“I’m honored to have Josh’s support. No one in the US Senate has fought so vigorously with the Big Tech monopoly who censors conservatives and controls the flow of information in our country. Josh said, “The interests and values ​​of American workers and their families.”
NOEM Supports Timken in Ohio Republican Senate Primary
Vance is one of ten candidates competing for the nomination of the Republican Senate next year in Ohio. This area also includes former Ohio Treasurer and former Senator candidate Josh Mandel. Former Ohio GOP Chairman Jane Timken. Bernie Moreno, a Cleveland businessman and luxury car dealership giant. And 2018 Ohio Republican Senator candidate Mike Gibbons, Cleveland entrepreneur, real estate developer, investment banker.
Longtime Congressman Mike Turner, who represents the state’s 10th Parliamentary District, and State Senator Mike Turner, whose family owns the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball, have taken a step towards launching the campaign.
Vance is supported by Protect Ohio Values, a super PAC formed earlier this year. PayPal co-founder and billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel made a big hit in March by donating $ 10 million in his money to fund the newly established Super PAC. I was surprised.
Holi’s support for Vence follows other high-profile support in the Republican primary. In particular, there was Timken’s support by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem last month. Libertarian-oriented senator and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, supports Gibbons. Utah’s conservative senator Mike Leigh is backing Mandel. Richard Grenell, who served as German ambassador during the administration of former President Trump and acted acting director of the United States, is supporting Moreno. And Jim Banks, an adjacent Indiana lawmaker, who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, supports Vance.
All major candidates are vying for Trump’s support in the primary, but the former president remains neutral in the confrontation.
The latest polls in the Republican nomination race suggest that Mandel is by far the best and Vance is steadily rising.
Next year’s Republican primary winner could face long-time Democrat Tim Ryan in northeastern Ohio. Ryan, who declared his candidacy for the Senate in April, is considered a Democratic nomination favorite in key areas that are expected to be much smaller than the Republican’s large list of candidates. Former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau senior adviser and 2020 parliamentary candidate Progressive Morgan Harper announced her candidacy earlier this summer.
Click here to get the Fox News app
The US Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties, but the Democratic Party has a very thin majority due to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, who is the president of the Senate. This means that Republicans only need a one-seater pickup to regain the majority.
However, the Republican Party will defend 20 of the 34 seats in 2022. In addition to Ohio, the GOP also defends vacancy on major battlefields in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Missouri and Alabama.

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Manatt grows Boston outpost with former Mass. federal prosecutor

SummaryLaw firmsKarin Bell adds to firm’s white collar, civil litigation practicesManatt launched Boston office in mid-2019The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page.(Reuters) – Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has brought on former assistant U.S. attorney Karin Bell as a partner as it continues to expand in Boston, the Los Angeles-founded firm said Tuesday.Bell, who served as a lead prosecutor in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal, which saw its first trial begin this week, heads to Manatt from the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts. She served most recently as chief of the criminal division there.Bell said her official last day in the U.S. attorney’s office, where she worked for 14 years, was Aug. 10. She started at Manatt last week.Manatt launched in Boston in June 2019 with the hire of Scott Lashway, who heads the office. He joined from Holland & Knight to co-lead Manatt’s privacy and data security practice alongside Donna Wilson, who also serves as the 450-professional firm’s CEO and managing partner.The Boston outpost now has nearly 15 legal and consulting professionals, according to Wilson, who described it as “an incredibly busy office.”Bell shared several reasons why she chose to join Manatt, including the draw of its growing white collar practice. She will counsel Manatt clients on international investigations, criminal and regulatory enforcement actions and civil litigation, focusing on securities, national security, anti-money laundering, and financial, cyber and health care fraud, the firm said.Manatt recently added another partner to that practice when it hired Naeun Rim away from Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow in June.Bell and Wilson both highlighted the firm’s interest in expanding in Boston and the East Coast more broadly, and a commitment to diversity. Bell noted Manatt is run by a “really strong, dynamic woman,” referring to Wilson.Wilson said the firm’s litigation practice has a robust pipeline of young and diverse professionals – but she wanted to “put that on steroids.” To accelerate the trend, the firm brought on Rim and Bell is the next piece, she said, adding that the firm wants its junior professionals “to have these role models for what a trial lawyer can and should be.”Bell also cited Manatt’s “hybridized approach to client services.” The firm has increasingly branded itself as a professional services firm with integrated teams of lawyers and consultants.Other recent additions to the firm this year include Bryan Schneider, a former associate director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and professionals across various practice areas including health and digital.Other firms have also been luring federal prosecutors in Boston. Former Massachusetts U.S. attorney Andrew Lelling joined Jones Day in March. Last week, former assistant U.S. attorney Glenn MacKinlay headed to McCarter & English.Read more:Manatt deepens California bench with rising trial proManatt recruits two for health practice as hybrid service model gains steamManatt grows digital team as ‘hybridized’ model emphasizes professional servicesSara MerkenSara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.

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TCN Continues Global Expansion, Celebrates ClearTouch’s Five Years Empowering Indian Businesses to Transform On-Premises Call Centers to Cloud-based Operations

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Sept. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — TCN, Inc., a global provider of a comprehensive cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies, today commemorates the fifth anniversary of its India-based subsidiary, ClearTouch. A pioneer in providing the first cloud-based call center platform in India in 2016, ClearTouch, powered by TCN’s technology, empowers Indian businesses to transform their on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based services.

“When we first launched ClearTouch in 2016, we were excited about the prospect of helping Indian companies optimize their contact center operations and improve their bottom lines by implementing cloud-based technology for the first time,” said Terrel Bird, CEO and co-founder of TCN. “Over the past five years, we have seen tremendous growth in the Indian market as we continue to build on the success and look to expand further into the Asia-Pacific region.”

Since 2016, ClearTouch has grown its presence from Chennai to offices in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai, with data centers in Mumbai and Bangalore as well as other data centers throughout the world, which provides the capability and agility to handle various client requirements. The company’s revenue has grown by more than 200% each year during the last three years while more than tripling its head count. To strengthen its services and improve customer experience, ClearTouch has worked closely with local partners such as many major Indian telecommunications companies. It currently serves various Indian companies and multinational businesses in the healthcare, insurance, financial services, banking and BPO industries.


According to a recent Frost & Sullivan report, COVID-19 has accelerated the rate of migration from on-premise solutions to cloud-based services in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, given the need to provide outstanding customer experience remotely. The report’s author also noted that the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry will be the leader in deploying contact center applications, followed by telecommunications.

“COVID-19 has accelerated interest in cloud-based services for call centers and contact centers, and we’re pleased to report that our advanced contact center platform has helped many Indian companies with thousands of agents in their business continuity during the pandemic,” said Uthaman Bakthikrishnan, executive director of ClearTouch. “Indian businesses are increasingly recognizing the major gains in efficiency and productivity, as well as agent performance and customer experience, from leveraging the cloud. Although the pandemic jumpstarted this pivot to the cloud out of necessity, these benefits will only increase in value after the pandemic, which is why we’re so bullish on the Indian market.”

TCN currently serves more than 2,000 clients worldwide, with offices in the U.S., Canada, Australia, India and the United Kingdom.

About ClearTouch

ClearTouch is a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs and financial services companies in India. A subsidiary of TCN, Inc., a global contact center technology provider, ClearTouch introduced the first cloud-based contact center platform in India in 2016. ClearTouch combines a deep understanding of the needs of call centers with a unique approach to pricing — no contracts, monthly minimums or maintenance fees — that supports rapid scaling and instant flexibility to changing business needs. ClearTouch’s contact center platform features a holistic set of easy-to-use, automated agent tools and advanced apps for omnichannel communications, workforce engagement, compliance & data management, integration & automation, intelligence, reporting & analytics and collaboration & accessibility. Its suite of compliance tools helps businesses meet the requirements of telemarketing and telecommunications regulations both in India and North America. Trusted by companies of all sizes in the healthcare, insurance, financial services, banking and BPO industries, among others, ClearTouch is headquartered in Chennai and maintains offices in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. For more information, visit

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About TCN, Inc.

TCN is a global provider of a comprehensive, cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, business process outsourcing firms (BPOs) and collection agencies. Founded in 1999, TCN combines a deep understanding of the needs of call centers with a unique approach to pricing – no contracts, monthly minimums or maintenance fees – that supports rapid scaling and instant flexibility to changing business needs. TCN’s flagship platform for contact centers, TCN Operator, features a holistic set of easy-to-use, automated agent tools and advanced apps for omnichannel communications, workforce engagement, compliance & data management, integration & automation, intelligence, reporting & analytics and collaboration & accessibility. Its suite of compliance tools helps businesses meet the requirements of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and other state and federal regulations, including new and updated debt collection rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. TCN Operator integrates seamlessly with leading APIs and is accessible to agents with visual impairments. TCN is trusted by Fortune 500 companies and enterprises of all sizes in multiple industries in many countries. For more information, visit and follow on Twitter @tcn.

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People Love Digital Banking, But Will They Surrender All Their Data?

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Statistically, data breaches are a rare occurrence in banking. Yet, personal financial data is vulnerable, and consumers are worried about the safety of their private information.
News like this make people nervous: According to a letter posted on the Montana attorney’s general website, JPMorgan Chase “may have mistakenly allowed another customer with similar personal information to see your account information on or in the Chase Mobile app.”
The breach only affected seven Montanans but it still was not a reassuring development.
On the other end of the impact scale, Capital One’s 2019 data breach compromised 140,000 Social Security numbers of credit card customers and 80,000 linked bank account numbers of secured credit card customers.
People, in general, are worried about sharing their data online. A June 2021 Deloitte study, based on a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, found 47% don’t trust online services to protect their data. Over half (57%) said “they would be willing to pay for the ability, or a service, to view and potentially delete the personal data that companies collect on them.”
Larger financial institutions are already taking such initiatives — Wells Fargo’s Control Tower has been in place for years, allowing customers to turn cards on and off (as many institutions now allow), but it also lets people see what subscriptions they’re enrolled in as well as monitor their data being shared with third parties. Data aggregator Plaid’s ‘Plaid Portal’, currently in beta, also allows people to review where their financial data is being shared and make changes.
Consumer Confusion About ‘Open Banking’
Adding to people’s concerns about sharing financial data are reports they see about “open banking.” Half of consumers have no idea what open banking is (or what it means for them), according to a survey by global API management company Axway. And even the people who do know, say they’re still worried about it.
For instance, nearly half of consumers (47%) say they don’t want to lose control of access to their financial data, another third says they’re wondering about the issues which could arise “surrounding constant monitoring of their financial activity” and 27% say they’re concerned their financial institution will use their data against them.

( sponsored content )

It’s not all bad news. Elliott Limb, Chief Customer Officer of cloud banking platform Mambu, found in a 2021 survey that if financial institutions can address the lack of understanding around open data sharing, “it will help banks build customer loyalty and provide genuinely innovative, differentiating, revenue-generating services.”
A Winning Strategy:
As with most things, people just need to know what’s going on. If banks and credit unions can help their customers understand what open banking is, they’re more likely to embrace it.
Banks and credit unions need to start by explaining open banking and data sharing (and make sure their customers understand what it really means). If banks successfully implement and promote these systems, Mambu’s survey shows that 57% of people will be more likely to trust them.
Read More:

The Upside For Traditional Banks
Financial data sharing is already happening in many ways, but it could soon be regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The agency is expected to issue rules implementing Section 1033 of the Dodd Frank Act, which would “facilitate the portability of consumer financial transaction data so consumers can more easily switch financial institutions and use new, innovative financial products,” banks and credit unions would be required to allow people to access and easily share their own financial data.
( Dig Deeper: White House Tells CFPB to Hit the Accelerator on Bank Data-Share Rules )
Fintechs saw this trend on the horizon years ago and developed products and technology in advance, aided by data aggregators using several methods to make this a reality, including the controversial practice of “screen scraping.” Aggregators are now shifting to the use of API arrangements with financial institutions, aided by standards established by the Financial Data Exchange and TruSight.

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When it comes to people’s personal financial data, traditional banks and credit unions certainly have a leg up on government agencies and nonbanks. A report by the Financial Stability Institute, a division of the Bank for International Settlements, says “people have far less trust in big techs.”
A survey by LendingTree also reflects the sentiment. The fintech lender found almost three out of four people (73%) say they trust their financial institutions in comparison to 51% who “feel the same about the government regarding banking and personal finance.”
These statistics yield good news for traditional financial institutions who may be concerned with their customers’ faith in them to safeguard data. But, as mentioned before, there are inevitable obstacles banks and credit unions will need to overcome. For instance, Covid-19 forced people everywhere to take a step back and BIS notes the pandemic left a quarter of respondents “less willing to share data.”
Dmitrii Barbasura, CEO and Co-Founder of fintech solution company Salt Edge, says in the Mambu report that “banks must accept that open banking is still not a fully comprehended phenomenon.”
Don’t Stop Now:
Even if consumers and small businesses are initially worried about the risks of data sharing, their viewpoint often changes if they see the value of sharing.
Regardless, people say they will be more willing to share their data once they understand what open banking means. McKinsey in its Financial Data Unbound report showed that for consumers and micro, small and medium enterprises in the U.K., “the willingness to share data doubles when customers find an appealing product or service enabled by it or understand the value it might bring them.”
These products, McKinsey’s report notes, can be something as simple as an app that tracks and improves credit scores “or a marketplace through which individuals can easily switch between different savings accounts based on interest rates.”
( Read More: U.S. Financial Institutions Now Lead Europe in Open Banking (Here’s Why) )

Benefits of Data Sharing
Mambu asked consumers what features they would want from open banking and almost half of the respondents (48%) say they would want digital money transfers, nearly two out of five (38%) say they’d like to see “aggregated bank balances at a glance” and another one out of three want more money management tips and tricks.

That’s just the jumping off point. At the end of the day, consumers are likely to benefit from open banking systems, according to Jim Marous, CEO of the Digital Banking Report and Co-Publisher of The Financial Brand. Therefore, setting up financial systems to be prepared for open banking includes heavy research on behalf of banks and credit unions, in addition to intense audits of an institution’s data security systems.
If the CFPB or another agency does require banks and credit unions to accept open data sharing with outside parties, there are essential ways for institutions to prep consumers for an open data ecosystem.
Looking at these systems in advance might even help reassure financial institution teams as well. Niranjan Ramaswamy, Vice President of Product Management at Fiserv, says that open banking will not alter the fundamentals of banking. It might even “extend financial data and services in ways that can solve customer problems, create compelling experiences and drive revenue growth.”
Four Steps to Prepare for an Open Data World
Ultimately, though, implementing open banking will be a lot of work for financial institutions. Here are four starting places that banks and credit unions can work into their strategy now to mitigate issues with open data sharing down the road.
1. Build With First-Party DataDeloitte recommends investing more in first-party data, adopting a privacy-first, future-proof approach and making privacy offerings value-drive services.
Maximizing first-party data (AKA account holder profiles) in an open banking environment is imperative for any traditional financial institution. For instance, data technology company Aire asks, “when open banking cannot accurately identify and categorize transaction data, how can lenders then validate the current financial situation of their existing customers?”
It’s not enough to outsource this data from credit bureaus or social media profiles — financial institutions, according to Aire, need to “look to the validity of alternative data sources to help. The best data, we believe, rests with the consumer themselves.”
2. Use Digitally Verified IDsAs the current owners of much of the financial data out there, it is first and foremost the responsibility of traditional institutions to protect their customers’ private information. However, arguably, one of the best ways to safeguard the data is to identify the consumer.
In fact, something as simple as using a digital ID instead of relying of “antiquated username and password combination coupled with insecure SMS and email verifications,” customers and banks can work together to provide easy data sharing between the parties in a safe, private way, according to blockchain expert Alastair Johnson, writing in Forbes.

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Why some backers of student lending product welcome CFPB crackdown

WASHINGTON — A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau order against a provider of income-share agreements signals regulatory tightening for all ISAs, but could also give the education finance sector legal clarity, observers said.
ISAs offer tuition money in exchange for some of a student’s future income. While many see the product as a progressive alternative to traditional student loans, consumer advocates say some have avoided regulatory scrutiny by claiming ISAs are not credit.
The CFPB agreed with consumer groups, saying in a consent order that Better Future Forward, a Virginia-based nonprofit, misled consumers by attesting that its products were not loans. The agency required that the nonprofit comply with consumer protection laws such as the Truth in Lending Act.

Some worry the CFPB’s approach could be stifling before ISAs have a chance to mature, especially if the bureau asserts more authority over the sector. But several ISA proponents say the guidelines outlined in the Better Future Forward lend more regulatory certainty.

“There’s a little more downside risk now, but there’s also more upside potential as well,” said Ethan Pollack, a program director at the nonprofit Jobs for the Future.
“With the CFPB declaring jurisdiction over ISAs, at least with regard to [the Truth in Lending Act], certainly, there’s a question of how they’re going to use that power, and I think that there is some cause for concern,” Pollack said. “But also, if they use that power wisely and in a way that is aligned with consumer interests, then I think you could achieve a lot greater regulatory clarity.”

Income-share agreements offer college students tuition funds in exchange for some of their future income. While many see the product as a progressive alternative to traditional student loans, consumer advocates say some providers have avoided regulatory scrutiny by claiming ISAs are not credit.
Bloomberg News

Others have doubts that the CFPB’s involvement will benefit the industry.
“There is certainty in the sense that the CFPB has announced they believe ISAs are credit,” said Jonathan S. Joshua, special counsel at Manatt who has worked with ISA providers. “However, it is still unclear what to do with that information.”
Organizations will need to assess whether they can continue to offer the same type of ISA products under the CFPB’s guidance or need to alter their approach, Joshua said.
“Does that just mean that ISAs are not viable? If an ISA is just credit, does that make it a loan that’s income-based, and if so, how does one offer that?” he said. “Those are the questions ISA providers should continue to seek clarity on.”
The CFPB’s consent order focused largely on requiring disclosures that must accompany credit products under federal law, such as those in the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z.
In a statement, a CFPB spokesperson said that “ISAs are extensions of credit, specifically private education loans, under federal consumer financial law, and are thus subject to federal laws, regulations, and consumer protections.”
“Consumers must not be deprived of their protections because a company offers a novel credit product that it characterizes as not credit,” the spokesperson added.
But some analysts said that beyond the letter of the law, the consent order had little to say about how such protections should be implemented.
The foundation of the Truth in Lending Act, passed in 1968, is the requirement that lenders clearly disclose the costs of their credit product in the form of an annual percentage rate, or APR. But ISA providers have argued that the classic calculation for APR doesn’t work for a product with payments ultimately tied to an unknown figure: a borrower’s post-education income.
The consent order “doesn’t stop [Better Future Forward] from offering ISAs, nor does it provide any of the important public information on how any other ISA providers should comply to ensure they are acting in good faith and in line with the CFPB’s criteria for what an ISA should look like going forward,” Joshua said. “To simply say, ‘Well, comply with the Truth in Lending Act,’ is not helpful in that regard.”
Others expressed doubts the enforcement action is a death knell for ISA providers.
“I don’t think this is the end of ISAs. It’s just one more development that’s hopefully going to ultimately lead to a clearer regulatory framework,” said Heather S. Klein, an associate at Ballard Spahr who has worked with ISA providers and servicers.
But she stressed that regulators still need to provide more formal rules of the road.
“I don’t think that the consent order gives us that clarity,” Klein said. “There’s going to have to be a lot of ongoing dialogue between the industry and regulators to implement the aims of the consent order in a common-sense way.”
Without a robust explanation of the types of disclosures that ISA providers must present to a borrower, Klein said the industry may approach the task in disparate ways.
“A consumer advocate would read the consent order and say, ‘OK, well, now every ISA provider has to include APRs in their disclosures,’” Klein said. “But when you think about how that works in practice, absent clarity from the regulators, there’s going to be a lot of variation in how the industry implements that supposed directive, and it might not result in the kind of clarity that would actually be productive.”
Still, others maintain that any legal nod towards ISAs from the federal government is better than regulatory silence.
“Given the current lay of the land, any guidance is better than what existed before,” said a financial services professional who has worked with ISA providers. “The good actors, so to speak, are advantaged when there is some guidance, and they’re in the best position to conform to better-established rules of the road.”
Much of the ISA industry has argued their product should not be regulated like other forms of lending because of distinct structural differences in the product. For example, repayment is based on a set percentage of a borrower’s post-education income, rather than an annual interest rate.
But consumer advocates and even some compliance-minded ISA providers have argued that some consumer credit laws must apply, including the Truth in Lending Act or the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
“For too long, ISA companies and their backers have tried to play fast and loose with basic consumer protections,” said Mike Pierce, policy director and managing counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center. “The news that top regulators are paying closer attention should be a wake-up call to banks, and anyone else considering partnering with these companies.”
In April, several consumer groups led by the Student Borrower Protection Center wrote a letter urging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to scrutinize a novel ISA partnership between Blue Ridge Bank of Martinsville, Va., and MentorWorks Education Capital.
Some analysts say that the scrutiny from federal regulators should give any bank pause about becoming involved with an ISA product.
“If you’re a bank and you’re offering certain products, whether in your name or in a partnership with somebody else, that’s fair game for the regulators to look at,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel with the Americans for Financial Reform.
The Student Borrower Protection Center has tried to capitalize on the CFPB’s consent order. In a second letter sent to the OCC dated Sept. 9 and addressed to acting Comptroller Michael Hsu, the group argued that “the CFPB’s action shows that banks partnered with ISA providers are collaborating with firms that have historically denied that they have to comply with consumer protection statutes, have been caught violating those statutes, and are now likely on the precipice of facing the consequences of their conduct.”
But others said that the momentum towards legal clarity may be a boon for bank involvement in the long term.
“I don’t think that banks should see this and hightail in the opposite direction,” Pollack said, pointing out that the CFPB did not ban Better Future Forward from issuing ISAs or even hit the firm with a financial penalty.
“I don’t think that there’s anything here that says, ‘Oh my god, like the sky is falling,’” Pollack added. “It seemed like [the CFPB] could have gone a lot harder on BFF, if they wanted to, and they didn’t. That suggests to me that they are trying to maybe make this work, as opposed to shutting everything down.

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Fintech Focus For September 14, 2021

Quote To Start The Day: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
Source: Henry Ford
One Big Thing In Fintech: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposal to collect data on small-business loans has been over a decade in the making, but the fight over the rulemaking is just getting started.
The agency’s plan unveiled Sept. 1 has sparked industry concerns that the reporting regime will lead to more fair-lending enforcement and public shaming of banks for alleged discrimination against minority-owned businesses. Bankers are also worried the CFPB’s proposed criteria for which lenders report the data are too broad.

Source: American Banker

Other Key Fintech Developments:

Firms Plaid, JPM, Stripe could buy.
IBKR adds crypto trading via Paxos.
FlyCoin intros rewards for traveling.
MoneyLion intros crypto investing.
Evercore taps Citi leader for fintech.
Billogram secured $45M for billing.
NCR is named top fintech provider.
Litecoin Foundation goofs on news.
DivideBuy adds $415M investment.
Stake offers cheapest ASX trading.
Vouch secures $90M in two rounds.
FB, Biden clash amid fintech battle.
Nubank has teamed with Creditas.
Coinbase to add a $1.5B bond sale.
Marqeta and Zip grow from BNPL.
Commercetools has added $140M.
Monzo and Revolut to intro BNPL.
BlockFi CEO eyes regulatory clarity.
MS hired on a UBS fintech banker.
Addison investing in a fintech fund.
Meet Zerodha the trading platform.

Watch Out For This: A handful of European exchange-traded products have logged gains in the triple digits and beyond, but few are available to U.S. investors.
Source: Wall Street Journal

Interesting Reads:

Intuit to acquire Mailchimp for $12B.
Animal Capital on new investments.
BLK: Equities over credit and bonds.
Democrats to undo deductions cap.
COVID-19 cases finally start to drop.
Quit and do nothing is a bad choice.

Market Moving Headline: The growth scare that has prompted investors to seek safety in technology companies is overdone as the economic drag from the delta coronavirus variant is likely short-lived, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists led by Marko Kolanovic.
Source: Bloomberg

© 2021 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Intuit Agrees to Buy Mailchimp for About $12B

Intuit — which makes TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint and Credit Karma — announced an approximately $12 billion cash and stock deal to acquire small- to medium-sized business (SMB) customer engagement and marketing platform Mailchimp, according to a Monday (Sept. 13) press release.
The deal allows Intuit to speed up its goal to serve as a catalyst for SMB growth and to shake up the SMB community, the release stated.
“We’re focused on powering prosperity around the world for consumers and small businesses,” said Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi in the release. “Together, Mailchimp and QuickBooks will help solve small and mid-market businesses’ biggest barriers to growth, getting and retaining customers. Expanding our platform to be at the center of small and mid-market business growth helps them overcome their most important financial challenges. Adding Mailchimp furthers our vision to provide an end-to-end customer growth platform to help our customers grow and run their businesses, putting the power of data in their hands to thrive.”
Mailchimp has more than 13 million users globally, 2.4 million monthly active users and 800,000 paid customers, including 50% outside the U.S., according to the release. The company boasts 70 billion contacts and more than 250 partners. Artificial intelligence (AI) leads to 2.2 million predictions every day.
“With Intuit, we’ve found a shared passion for empowering small businesses,” said Mailchimp CEO and Co-Founder Ben Chestnut in the release. “By joining forces with Intuit, we’ll take our offerings to the next level.”
Morgan Stanley is Intuit’s financial advisor, and Latham and Watkins is serving as its legal advisor in the Mailchimp acquisition. Qatalyst Partners is Mailchimp’s financial advisor, and King and Spalding is its legal advisor on this transaction, the release stated.
Atlanta-based Mailchimp’s services include social advertising, shoppable links and automation tools. Intuit’s QuickBooks provides accounting software, along with the CreditKarma service, according to a previous report.
Read more: TurboTax Maker Intuit Could Acquire MailChimp for $10B+
The deal represents Intuit’s largest transaction to date, topping the $8.1 billion the company paid for CreditKarma last year.


About: Eighty percent of consumers are interested in using nontraditional checkout options like self-service, yet only 35 percent were able to use them for their most recent purchases. Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey, a PYMNTS and Toshiba collaboration, analyzes over 2,500 responses to learn how merchants can address availability and perception issues to meet demand for self-service kiosks.

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