Milken Institute expands efforts to promote innovations in financial technology

Leaders from industry, public policy, and academia are joining a Milken Institute effort to ensure that financial technology innovations are broadly and prudently made available to individuals and businesses, while simultaneously increasing the stability and efficiency of the U.S. banking system.

The Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets launched the FinTech Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. this week. Committee members will serve as thought partners and provide guidance on independent research examining the role and value of fintech in the financial services ecosystem and responsible policy and regulatory regimes that balance financial innovation and consumer protection.

Thomas Curry

Tom Curry, the former U.S. comptroller of the currency, chairs the committee. Melissa Koide, CEO of FinRegLab and a former deputy assistant secretary for consumer policy at the U.S. Treasury Department under the Obama Administration, serves as vice-chair.

The formation of the advisory committee is part of the Institute’s effort to enhance its fintech program. It focuses on two key themes, informing lawmakers and regulators in the U.S. and abroad on approaches to innovations within the financial services sector; and seeking to change the current focus beyond the technology platforms employ to how startups and incumbents are leveraging that technology to address financial inclusion, access to capital, transparency, and compliance.

“Banking and finance are not static businesses and must be allowed to evolve,” Mr. Curry said. “The ability to adapt to meet the changing needs of customers and the marketplace is as critical today as it was 50 or 100 years ago. Simultaneously, we must also be able to responsibly innovate in order to take advantage of the large wave of progress quickly coming our way.

“Now that online lending and payments technologies are increasingly widespread, we must determine ‘what’s next?’ and that’s exactly where the FinTech Advisory Committee comes in.”

Introduced in 2014, the Milken Institute FinTech program has been at the forefront of examining how government and industry should address financial innovations. As one of the first think tanks to explore this topic, the program has since produced nearly 100 written reports, blogs, op-eds, and comment letters, and hosted more than 70 private roundtables, public panel sessions, and congressional staff briefings covering FinTech.

“Fintech is changing the face of financial services. We are honored that this impressive group of leaders is joining this effort to understand better the impact of FinTech and the role that it can play to address persistent challenges firms face across inclusion, access to capital, transparency, and compliance,” said Michael Klowden, CEO of the Milken Institute.

Inaugural members of the Milken Institute FinTech Advisory Committee include

  • Tom Curry (chair), 30th Comptroller of the Currency, partner, Nutter;
  • Melissa Koide (vice chair), CEO, FinRegLab and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Consumer Policy;
  • Steve Antonakes, EVP, enterprise risk management, Eastern Bank;
  • Jo Ann Barefoot, CEO, Barefoot Innovation Group, co-founder, Hummingbird RegTech;
  • Margaret Hartigan, founder and CEO, Marstone;
  • Karen Mills, senior fellow, Harvard Business School;
  • Kathryn Petralia, co-founder and president, Kabbage;
  • Thomas Philippon, professor of finance, New York University Stern School of Business;
  • Colin Walsh, CEO, Varo Money.

“The cost of financial intermediation has largely remained unchanged for 100 years, meaning efficiency gains have not been passed down to the customer,” said Jackson Mueller, associate director of the Center for Financial Markets and head of the fintech program at the Milken Institute. ”The advisory committee will play an important role in helping lawmakers, regulators, businesses, and consumers understand how, and to what extent, advanced technologies can not only help improve the financial services system but also better serve consumers and promote financial inclusion.”

The institute is engaged in several fintech-focused programs this year, including a partnership with FinRegLab to explore the value of cash flow data in the credit underwriting process for small businesses seeking capital.