As we close out the year, interest in cryptocurrencies continues to grow. The Federal Reserve, The Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a joint statement summarizing a series of “policy sprints” focused on cryptocurrencies and providing a roadmap for future work related to crypto-assets. In addition, the FedNow(SM) Community announced it is now accepting submissions for its Service Provider Showcase.
Also making headlines, The Clearing House (TCH) released its 2021 Consumer Survey: Data Privacy and Financial App Usage. Meanwhile, Venmo and Zelle are expanding their reach by teaming up with high-stakes players like Amazon and the Detroit Pistons.
These are just a few of the highlights in this month’s Executive Summary.
Read on to learn more.
The Federal Reserve
Fed, FDIC, and OCC Release Joint Statement on Crypto
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the FDIC, and the OCC issued a joint statement summarizing their interagency "policy sprints" focused on crypto-assets and providing a roadmap of future work related to crypto-assets.
According to a joint news release, the statement describes the focus of the preliminary work conducted through the sprints undertaken by the agencies. It summarizes the agencies' plan to provide greater clarity throughout 2022 on whether certain crypto-related activities undertaken by banking organizations are legally permissible and related expectations for safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with existing law and regulations.
The emerging crypto-asset sector presents potential opportunities and risks to banking organizations, customers, and the overall financial system. The interagency sprints quickly advanced and built on agencies' combined knowledge, which helped identify and assess critical issues related to potential crypto-asset activities conducted by banking organizations.
The joint statement provides a roadmap for financial institutions, which includes the following topics:
- Crypto-asset safekeeping and traditional custody services
- Ancillary custody services
- Facilitation of customer purchases and sales of crypto-assets
- Loans collateralized by crypto-assets
- Issuance and distribution of stablecoins
- Activities involving the holding of crypto-assets on a balance sheet
Click here to read the joint statement on Crypto-Asset Policy Sprint Initiative and Next Steps.
FedNow Service Provider Showcase Open for Submissions
Also happening at the Fed, the FedNow(SM) Community announced December 3, 2021, that its Service Provider Showcase is now open for submissions. According to the announcement, "You can now submit materials and information highlighting your organization's instant payment capabilities for financial institutions and end-users looking to adopt the FedNow Service."
If you would like to participate in the showcase, your submission must meet the minimum criteria described on the FedNow website. If you are interested and meet the requirements, please submit your materials by Wednesday, January 12, to be included in the official launch of the showcase and the Federal Reserve's communications and promotional efforts to the broader industry.
Additional information is available on the FedNow website. If you have questions about the Service Provider Showcase, please email the FedNow Community directly.
The Clearing House
On December 1, The Clearing House (TCH) released its 2021 Consumer Survey: Data Privacy and Financial App Usage that consumers who use digital banking and FinTech apps regularly to manage their finances want greater disclosure and control over their financial data. However, they know little about fintechs' data collection, management, and sharing practices.
According to a TCH news release, 2021 survey findings show that more than three-quarters of respondents were largely unaware that fintech apps:
- Commonly use third-party providers to gather users' financial data (80%)
- Can sell personal data to other parties for marketing, research, and other purposes (76%)
- Retain access to information even after the app is deleted (77%)
- Regularly access personal data even when the app is closed or deleted (78%)
- Typically assume no responsibility if a security breach compromises consumer data (80%)
"More consumers are using financial apps, but they're still in the dark about how their data is used, accessed, and stored," Ben Isaacson, Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at TCH, said in the release. "Once again, these numbers confirm that people want a better understanding about these practices, and they want a greater say in how their personal and financial data are used."
To download the full survey report, click here.
Venmo Teams Up with Amazon, Releases Behavioral Study
PayPal announced that they will team-up with Amazon to allow Venmo’s users in the U.S. to pay with Venmo at checkout using funding methods that include their linked bank account and Venmo balance, according to a company news release. Starting next year, customers will be able to make purchases on Amazon.com and the Amazon mobile shopping app in the U.S. using their Venmo accounts.
A recent Venmo Behavior study revealed that 65 percent of Venmo users said they increased their online purchasing behaviors amidst the pandemic, and 47 percent are interested in paying with Venmo when checking out with merchants. Venmo has been enhancing offerings to expand how consumers and merchants can use Venmo.
“Over the last year, we have focused on giving our Venmo community more ways to use Venmo in their daily lives, including the ability to pay with QR Codes and providing more shopping features like purchase protections,” Darrell Esch, Senior Vice President, and GM, Venmo said in the news release. “We’re thrilled to make it possible for our users and Amazon customers to pay with Venmo starting next year.”
Zelle Partners with Detroit Pistons to Elevate Financial Fitness
In other news, the Detroit Pistons and Zelle® have teamed up to help Detroit's community invest in their financial future and learn how to protect themselves from fraud and scams, according to a joint news release. The two organizations will launch a custom video series showcasing Detroit Pistons players and their personal experiences with money management and digital banking safety.
In addition to launching this video series, the Detroit Pistons will be donating money to a local Detroit nonprofit that inspires and prepares young people for success, noted the release. During the 2021-2022 NBA season, the Pistons will be donating $25 for every shot blocked by the Pistons. At the end of the season, the Pistons will donate the sum to Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan's financial literacy programming.
“We believe that financial education is the foundation of financial empowerment. Through this partnership with the Detroit Pistons, we hope to provide greater access to critical education, helping people make the right financial decisions to create their own financial success,” Melissa Lowry, Chief Marketing Officer of Early Warning, the owner and network operator of Zelle® said in the release.
New Study: When It Comes to Disbursements, Faster is Better
Early this month, PYMNTS, in partnership with Ingo Money, released "The State of Consumer Disbursements 2021," a survey of nearly 3,000 U.S. consumers about disbursement preferences.
Per the study, “The growing appetite for instant disbursements presents a massive opportunity for organizations that can provide these recipients the instant disbursement options they crave,” with the study noting that “approximately 158 million U.S. consumers received roughly 11 billion disbursements in 2021, whether from the government, their employers, their insurance companies or others — and 33% of consumers say they would pay extra to receive those disbursements instantly.”
You can download the study in its entirety here.
New Report: Capturing the Global Cryptocurrency Payments Opportunity
PYMNTS, in collaboration with i2c, Inc., recently released “Capturing the Global Cryptocurrency Payments Opportunity,” a report highlighting the growing interest in cryptocurrencies among consumers and businesses and subsequent opportunities for financial institutions and other payments stakeholders.
As noted in the study:
Both consumers and businesses appear to be shifting [their view of cryptocurrencies] from an asset class — similar to gold or bonds — to that of spendable currency. However, virtual currencies still are years away from becoming established as part of the mainstream payments ecosystem. Still, businesses, FinTechs, and financial institutions (FIs) are all taking rapid steps to move toward that reality, and many of them are building out the key digital infrastructure necessary to facilitate smooth payments.
With interest rising in cryptocurrencies and related technologies like blockchain, financial institutions must educate themselves about this payment channel's opportunities and risks.
Toward that end, NEACH will focus a portion of its 2022 educational efforts on cryptocurrencies and related technologies. Watch for posts in the first quarter of the new year on NEACH’s Innovating Payments website.
NEACH’s New White Paper
If you’ve not yet done so, check out NEACH’s new white paper, The New Role of Operations: Exploring Channels, Talent, Innovation, Collaboration, and Risk in a Complex World, on neach.org.
This white paper, co-authored by NEACH and The New Role of Operations Workgroup, addresses the disruption of COVID-19 on operations by defining the new role of operations, identifying the challenges facing operations today, highlighting new opportunities in operations, and concluding with specific actions financial institutions may want to consider as they navigate the “new normal.”
Throughout the white paper, you will also find short case studies submitted by members of the New Role of Operations Workgroup that highlight how individual financial institutions successfully met operational challenges by implementing strategic and innovative solutions.
By combining cutting-edge technology with strategic human resources and collaboration across the organization, operations can help position financial institutions for success now and into the future.
Click here to download a copy of the white paper today.
AUTHOR: Joe Casali, AAP, NCP
Executive Vice President
As the EVP of Payments Innovation for NEACH, Joe focuses on exploring innovative solutions and technologies that will help position members for success, both now and in the future. Connect with Joe to read more of his blogs, articles, and posts.