At the end of 2020, PayPal won an initial victory in its lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. On December 30, Judge Richard Leon granted summary judgment for PayPal on two motions.
In the latest episode of the IPA Payments Pod, Brian Tate, the Innovative Payments Association’s CEO, talks about what the decision means for the payments industry. He covers the practical implications for payments companies and the potential regulatory and legislative fallout.
The decision is likely to be appealed, so this likely is only the beginning of a long saga between the industry and regulators. Policy discussions informed by the arguments may play out on a different timetable or in tandem. Either way, the decision sets the stage for a number of conversations around the future of payments regulation.
You can listen to the episode here, or wherever you get your podcasts. Please subscribe and leave us a review on your favorite podcast help to help others find the show.
The IPA is pleased to announce that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company will be featured presenters at this year’s Innovative Payments Conference in April. During their presentation, representatives from the Kellogg Foundation and McKinsey will lead an in depth discussion focused on a recent article the two organizations co-authored entitled, “Racial Equity in Financial Services,” which was published in September 2020.
In brief, the report makes the case that due to America’s evolving demographics, companies with “a diverse executive team, board, or both” directly “correlates with higher profitability” and overall better business outcomes. The research examines the experiences of people of color in the financial services sector and explores the critical issues of representation, promotion, and directive versus supportive roles for people of color in the financial services sector. The report concludes with a call to action for leaders to advance racial equity to drive better business performance
Accordingly, a part of their conference session will feature a new program led by the Kellogg Foundation. The program, called Expanding Equity, is for companies that want to take strategic, measurable and clear steps toward advancing racial equity in their organizations. The foundation is currently recruiting companies for a Financial Services cohort and invites IPA members who are interested to participate. In brief, the program is designed for companies at any stage of their diversity, equity and inclusion work and offered at no cost to participating companies.
The Expanding Equity program offers dozens of specific equity initiatives for financial services companies; a confidential, company-specific analysis on your starting point, referenced against broader industry performance; and a series of workshops that offer the tools, knowledge and human-centered approaches for cultivating workplaces that attract, develop, retain and promote diverse talent. You can learn more at www.expandingequity.com.
The first cohort, convened over the last 9 months, focused on financial services companies and was extremely successful. Participants agreed that the program helped them develop concrete steps to take to build a more racially equitable workplace. Accordingly, all cohort participants have changed the way in which they recruit diverse talent, and have installed meaningful initiatives to improve the experiences of employees of color throughout their journey in the companies.
As Expanding Equity recruits its second cohort of financial services businesses, I encourage you to consider participating. Please email ExpandingEquity@wkkf.org, or Brian Tate if you are interested in learning more.
As unlikely as it might seem, 2020 ended on a high note for the payments industry. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s updated rules on brokered deposits will lower the costs of insuring consumers’ deposits for Fintechs and the banks that work with them. This change is the culmination of five years of work on the part of the Innovative Payments Association and its members.
Despite this bright spot, the regulatory environment in 2021 may be a lot darker for the industry. There will no doubt be a change in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s leadership, which will change that agency’s approach to regulation. Also, a letter from the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee to the incoming Biden Administration shows that Congress also plans to keep a close eye on financial services.
Despite all of that, the brokered deposits rule change shows that engagement by the industry can ensure that any new laws or rules do not stifle the industry’s good work to help consumers, businesses, and governments manage their money more effectively. We talk about how companies should lay the groundwork for the new environment they will face in 2021.
If you are not already a part of the Association and want to be part of the policy discussion shaping the future of the payments industry, then go to www.ipa.org to learn more about the benefits of membership in the association.
One of the newest names in the Fintech space comes with a ton of experience. North Lane Technologies revealed its new name in October as part of an announcement about its joining with daVinci Payments under Syncapay, another Fintech company.
In the latest episode of the IPA Payments Pod, we spoke with Seth Brennan, the CEO of North Lane. He describes how North Lane evolved from its start-up days as Ecount, through being part of a large bank with Citi, then a multinational with Wirecard. We also talk about where the company goes from here as part of a larger organizations created out of multiple Fintechs. Brennan says that North Lane and DaVinci are on their way to becoming a juggernaut in incentive payments.
You can find the episode here, or on your favorite podcast app. Please subscribe and leave us a review. If you have a topic you want to discuss on the podcast, let us know!
What inspired you and/or your company to get involved with the Innovative Payments Association?
Paysign joined the IPA in the spring of 2017. But previously I was involved with IPA through my role with another member organization. Our organization is similar to other members of the association, dedicated to bringing innovation and efficiency to the payments industry through prepaid. With the IPA, Paysign has been able to connect with banks, processors, network providers and others across the financial services landscape.
How has your membership in the IPA most benefitted you, and what are some of our events and resources that have proven most helpful and valuable?
Our association with the IPA has allowed us to expand our knowledge of what’s going on in the industry. We’ve been able to keep tabs on everything changing in federal government relations and the changing regulatory space. Resources such as the IPA’s Government Relations Working Group and Financial Crimes Task Force are two important groups to our company. My colleagues and I participate in both, as they provide opportunities to share new information which is critical for a company like us that is always looking to learn and grow. These wider conversations have allowed us to learn from others’ experiences and identify areas we need to focus on. The IPA’s blog, podcast, and webinars also allow our employees to grow professionally. We try to utilize as many of IPA’s resources as possible and encourage our employees to do the same.
What has your experience been like as being a part of the IPA?
Personally, it has been wonderful, and I have really enjoyed it. I have met a lot of people sitting on the board, and the ability to call on industry executives and the IPA team for their expertise and advice has been very helpful. The IPA brings together individuals each with their unique talents and provides them with an opportunity to learn from each other.
The annual conference and compliance training events are also tremendously beneficial and give our employees the opportunity to network with other individuals who they share a similar job or background with. During COVID-19, times are weird for everyone, and everything is webinar-based, which can make networking difficult. But the IPA’s commitment to offering consistent educational and networking resources online through webinars and trainings has been very helpful.
On another note, the IPA has provided me the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and meet with legislators, regulators, and other industry decisionmakers on a regular basis. I have found these meetings very exciting and helpful personally and professionally.
What’s one thing - either payments-related or not - you learned in the last six months?
Over the past six months, I have been encouraged to see the resilience in the prepaid card sector, as well as from Paysign’s workforce. Even with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, IPA member organizations have stepped up to provide financial help around the country. All the people I have met through the IPA have continued to come together and help people out. It’s a common theme we all have.
Like others, I have tried to find new ways to maintain strong health during these unprecedented times. Personally, when working from home, I learned I can walk several miles per day, and I have enjoyed incorporating that into my new daily routine
Incomm Health Care recently won the IPA’s Payments Innovation award. In this episode, we talk with Rod Kersch from InComm about how its system makes delivering health care benefits easier for insurers, retailers, and recipients.
Few areas of payments are more complicated than health care benefits delivered to individuals. While health plans want to give consumers more control over how they spend their dollars, the tax code restricts how those dollars can be used.
For years, health plans that wanted to provide consumers with money for over-the-counter medicines and incent behaviors like healthy eating or getting a flu shot, had to resort to an assortment of payment tools. Checks and gift cards might be distributed before or after the fact. Consumers might need to use a prepaid or debit card, but then report what they bought and prove it fit within a plan’s guidelines. Whatever the methods used, the process was cumbersome and not always effective.
InComm Health Care has developed a system that can streamline these payments. The company’s system combines point of sale services and a multipurpose card to make the payment process as easy as any card payment. The system can filter eligible items down to the SKU level, and automatically pull from different pools of funds available to the cardholder for everything from medicines to healthy food.
While the topic of financial services regulation is not being by the campaigns, nevertheless, the outcome of the election will determine the shape and tone of the regulatory landscape.
In this episode, we talk with Dee Buchanan and Gordon Taylor, principals at Ogilvy Government Relations, about the various ways the 2020 election could go and what each outcome might mean for the regulatory environment.
This episode was recorded before the news broke about the President’s COVID19 diagnosis, so we did not discuss its effects on the campaign. However, the analysis in this conversation remains the same.
Although most of the attention is going to the presidential election, the struggle for the control of Congress also will play a role in the future of regulations. State races and political attitudes are also discussed as we look ahead to the vote.
In addition to this podcast, the IPA will continue to monitor the election and host an election update webinar for its members on October 14, and a discussion about potential regulatory threats to fintechs on October 21.
What inspired you and/or your company to get involved with the Innovative Payments Association?
What sticks out first, and differentiates the IPA from other industry organizations, is inclusivity. The IPA represents a wide range of members within the payments ecosystem, including banks, fintechs, suppliers, providers, and processors. Given the rapidly evolving industry landscape—especially within the digital economy—the IPA represents firms and products that touch all consumers with varying levels of access to banking services.
Specifically, the IPA’s connections with card companies, banks, service providers, and processors were very compelling for my company and have been a great way for us to connect with banks and other firms, as well as with federal and state government agencies. When InComm became a member over a decade ago, our industry was navigating through the government’s response to the financial crisis, which included Dodd-Frank, the Durbin Amendment, and other major legislation and regulatory measures at the federal and state level. The IPA’s connections with lawmakers and regulators and knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process, was invaluable during those years that were so difficult for our industry and consumers.
What specific efforts have you been most involved in, and what role have you played?
InComm was not actively engaged in government affairs on either the state or federal level before we joined, and the IPA has helped us to get plugged into that process, including providing a forum for us and other IPA members to meet with key decisionmakers over the years, including former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Representative Sanford Bishop, and various U.S. Senators and regulators—leaders at the CFPB, FDIC, and FinCEN, to name a few. Fostering as many connections as we can with federal and state lawmakers and regulators is a main area of focus for us, especially when it comes to educating them regarding various networks and payments processors, and the wide and evolving payments landscape.
Through the IPA, InComm and other IPA members have been able to meet with multiple CFPB Directors, FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams, and other key staff at all major financial regulatory agencies. Given the interconnectivity within prepaid, we also prioritize meeting and partnering with other member companies to learn from them and drive the industry forward for consumers.
What has your experience been like as a member of the IPA?
Our experience has been terrific! The opportunity to meet with key legislative and regulatory officials, send joint letters alongside other influential IPA members, and tap into the IPA’s industry resources has allowed us to carry significant weight in front of key decisionmakers and given us a leg up in accomplishing policy and business priorities.
Our annual conference is something that comes to mind when I think of some of the greatest benefits of our IPA membership. Each year, the Innovative Payments Conference allows us to network with industry leaders and key decisionmakers. Past speakers have included Senator David Perdue, Representative Sanford Bishop, heads of the CFPB, IRS, and FDIC, and congressional committee chairmen. The conference offers wide-ranging opportunities for members and is always bipartisan in nature. It is also great to see the various products and services IPA members offer to consumers all over the world.
What is one thing—either payments-related or not—you learned in the last month?
Over the past month, I have reinforced my understanding of the cycle of production, influence, and efficacy within the payments ecosystem. For us, banks, networks, and payment processors interface with lawmakers and regulators who govern and control the use of our products and services. The IPA provides the bandwidth, infrastructure, and scope that brings each of these elements together in order to advance members’ priorities. From digital wallets to traditional prepaid cards to consumer-protection products and everything in between, this all gets absorbed by the IPA and disbursed to the benefit of members. Having a trade association with such broad representation carries significant weight and authority. For example, the Atlanta Fed tapped the IPA and our members for help in producing a white paper on how payments companies can become more inclusive to unbanked and underbanked Americans. Engaging in this type of research, improving financial literacy and working alongside the federal government to innovate and reach more consumers is one of the most rewarding elements of IPA membership.
What is your company’s role in the payments industry (program manager, issuer, processor, service provider, etc.)?
PayActiv provides holistic financial wellness including employer-sponsored earned wage access (EWA) to users. PayActiv verifies earned wages, and makes on-demand earned wage disbursement to employees directly to: the Payactiv Prepaid card, any Visa/MC debit card, any bank account through ACH, or users can pick-up EWA in cash from Walmart. Users can also pay bills or make online purchases on Amazon through PayActiv-disbursed EWA.
Payactiv is also a program manager for a General Purpose Reloadable & Payroll Visa prepaid card.
What kinds of payments do you support?
What kinds of special features do your products and services offer?
The Payactiv platform provides several benefits including timely access to earned wages, budgeting and savings tools, pharmacy discounts, and financial counseling.
What kinds of companies are you looking to partner with?
In addition to its own enterprise clients, from small businesses to Fortune 100 employers, PayActiv looks to partner with payroll processors and industry leaders to offer EWA to their employer clients.
What do you think the future of payments holds in the next five years?
Payactiv predicts nationwide acceptance of earned wage access as an employee benefit and vital consumer protection against the challenges of living paycheck-to-paycheck.
The IPA recently held its first Fintech Elevator. The online event gave participants a chance to make industry connections and win a membership in the Innovation Payments Association.
In this episode, we talk with the founder of one of our winners, Invest Sou Sou, about how being more social with our household finances can lead to greater success. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Fonta Gilliam was a diplomat who have worked in a number of countries around the world. She saw a different approach to managing money than what is common in the United States. She believes that getting people to share more about their finances will help them achieve their goals.
To this end, she founded Invest Sou Sou, which offers financial institutions a platform that their customers can use to create social networks to help them reach goals. The use cases can range from individuals saving to buy a house to groups savings towards a common goal.
Rather than offer the product directly to consumers, Gilliam found that her reach would be increased by creating a product to help banks attract and retain customers by offering them this value added service.
You can learn more by visiting the company’s site at: https://investsousou.com/. If you want to create a Sou Sou wallet of your own, visit: https://investsousou.com/elementor-55/how-sou-sou-works/.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.