ABA Banking Journal - September/October 2017 - 34
SPECIAL REPORT > TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
the Legislative Lens
A conversation with congressional financial
technology leader Randy Hultgren
BY BRIAN NIXON
s banks continue to adapt to an ever-changing fintech
landscape, lawmakers are similarly working to define
their approach to innovation policy. We recently sat
down with House Financial Services Committee
member Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), co-chairman of the
House Fintech and Payments Caucus and keynote speaker
at ABA's Payments Forum in June, for a conversation about
the intersection of technology and financial services, and
what it means for the nation's banks.
in particular sparked
your interest in fintech?
A: I serve on both the House Financial Services and
the Science, Space and Technology Committees, so that
intersection of technology impacting finance, impacting service
to consumers and new opportunities for people to get access
to financial tools is very interesting to me. And even as just a
consumer, [I'm] amazed by the ease of being able to do my
own banking and trading from my phone. It really is a pretty
exciting new world, but we've got to make sure we understand
as a government how do we do this well, how do we make sure
we're not crushing new innovation through regulation-but at
the same time, protecting consumers and making sure that
financial information is secure.
can Capitol Hill do to
help encourage innovation?
A: The main focus of the [fintech and payments] caucus
is education-helping my colleagues understand the new
opportunities that come with new technology, but also the
ABA BANKING JOURNAL | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
challenges: how do we regulate, what do we regulate, how do
we [encourage] innovation while making sure that markets are
working, customers are protected and that there's a confidence
with these new tools. I think there will be potential for hearings
we can have in the Financial Services Committee focused
on fintech issues, and a lot of overlap with some other areas
Is there a nexus between where you
are with fintech policy and overall
financial institution regulatory policy?
A: I'm concerned about it. I've been pretty vocal in my time
on the Hill that I agree with my banking friends-that there
has been this huge amount of cost and time and challenge
with regulatory compliance. The reality [is] that when there's a
demand out there, markets will find a way and entities will find a
way, but [they] sometimes find a way that gets around regulation.
That's not fair to the great banks that are out there playing by
the rules, doing the right things, and yet are being hindered
from fully engaging in benefits that technology can bring to their
customers. Something we want to continue working toward is
making sure that as new technology entries join in in providing
financial tools, our existing financial institutions can do the
same-that we're not giving benefit to one over the other.
Do you think banks and fintech
companies need a safe space
within which to innovate?
A: I do think if there's this cloud of litigation [or] the
regulatory hammer coming down, it can become a