The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) is doubling down on its goal of innovation. Today, the Bureau filed a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on Tech Sprints “as a means to encourage regulatory innovation” and “developing viable solutions to regulatory compliance challenges.” The comment period, which opens tomorrow when the notice is published, will run until November 8, 2019.
The notice outlines the many different uses of technology in consumer finance, including within financial institutions, regulatory bodies, and interactions between the two. According to the Bureau,
The integration of technology and regulatory compliance has the potential to harness technological advances to reduce burden, improve results, and create greater efficiencies across financial markets that can ultimately reduce consumer costs. The expertise of vendors, regulated entities, academia, and community groups can help regulators understand the benefits and risks of such technology.
The idea of Tech Sprints, which comes from a similar concept used in the United Kingdom and by other sectors of the U.S. federal government, brings stakeholders together and adds a competitive twist to solving regulatory or market issues. The Bureau’s Tech Sprints would involve small groups—containing expertise from all sides of the aisle—competing against each other for several days to “produce actionable ideas, write computer code, and present their solutions” to a specific assigned problem. In the end, the teams make presentations to a panel of judges, who select a winning solution that can later be further developed by the Bureau.
The notice lists specific comment requests from the Bureau.
As mentioned above, the Bureau is making strides toward innovation. The Tech Sprints comment request comes only a week after the Bureau announced its launch of the American Consumer Financial Innovation Network—a collaboration with state Attorneys General to promote innovation in the financial sector—and issued its first No Action Letter under its new No Action Letter Policy. For the debt collection industry, the Bureau also demonstrated its commitment to innovation and technology through certain aspects of its proposed rules for third-party debt collection, for which the comment period closes this week.