FinTech Task Force Republicans Push for Regulatory Clarity to Spur Innovation
September 29, 2020 -
Today, the Task Force on Financial Technology is holding a virtual hearing on the importance of providing an up-to-date regulatory framework that fosters innovation and competition to give more Americans access to critical financial services.
Watch Task Force Ranking Republican Tom Emmer’s (MN-6) opening remarks here.
Read Ranking Republican Emmer’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Mr. Chair, for convening this hearing today. Before I go into the content of this important hearing, I want to acknowledge what is likely our last Fintech Taskforce hearing. I’d like to thank the Chair and the past leadership of French Hill on this Taskforce for producing thoughtful, non-partisan conversations about the emerging technologies that regulators and Congress are grappling with.
“No matter the outcome of November’s election, I hope it has become apparent on both sides the multitude of policy questions and topics in the area of fintech. The growth of these technologies and the considerations for Congress and regulators will only continue to grow. That’s why, next Congress, this Committee should create a Financial Technology Subcommittee in order to provide the proper attention to this expanding area. A Subcommittee will allow for greater focus on the details of many of the topics we have discussed as a taskforce.
“The consequences of Congress’ action, or inaction, on these topics stand to greatly influence the economy as well as the location of the next great technological innovation like the internet. As a body, we have already fallen behind on our knowledge and understanding of technology issues. If we don’t catch up on fintech, these innovations will pass us by.
“Today we close out our hearings with our attention toward the regulator that has likely been the most forward-leaning and supportive of new technologies that could build a more open and free financial system, and equip millions of Americans previously excluded with the tools to build a credit and a prosperous financial future.
“The OCC, under the leadership of Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, has undertaken tremendous efforts to clearly spell out the regulatory environment for emerging technologies and ensure their domestic development, rather than allowing for more departures to countries that have provided clearer rules of the road.
“Many have weighed in after the prospect of a payments charter became news. As Congress and regulators tackle issues with our changing financial system, it is important and prudent to consider the implications involved and make sure consumers are protected and our financial institutions remain strong and secure. At the same time, a charter under the OCC is by no means a license to operate free from regulation. It is not even regulation-lite, as some of the testimony today will portray. It in fact imposes many responsibilities and duties to adhere to safe business practices and disclose information in an effort to ensure market stability.
The OCC has long held and will continue to ensure that their regulated institutions operate in a safe and sound manner, provide fair access to financial services, and treat customers fairly. I am certain that as details begin to emerge and payments charters are granted, the OCC will continue to fulfill their mission.
“In addition, regulatory certainty is a goal that Acting Comptroller Brooks and I share. That is why last week I introduced the Securities Clarity Act, which would clarify securities law in a technologically agnostic way and allow for the distribution of an underlying asset that is in fact a commodity. With regard to blockchain technologies, the Securities Clarity Act would allow for the distribution of a token following a registered securities offering. So long as actors play by the rules of the road, they deserve the assurances that regulators will not continue to cause uncertainty and will in fact support innovation in America. I am grateful for the support of Darren Soto, a co-chair of the Blockchain Caucus like myself, and Ro Khanna, a member of the caucus and California member whose district has directly seen the benefits of these new technologies.
“It is through practical, non-partisan solutions like this that this taskforce can be most effective during this outbreak and going into the next Congress. Again, I’d like to thank Chairman Lynch for convening this hearing and leading the taskforce, and hope we will continue to work together to better understand financial technologies and the ways Congress can support and foster innovation in America.
“I yield back.”
Watch the virtual hearing live here.
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