Executive Letter: WBA Seeking Innovation Ideas

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

The power of state associations is often seen when we all work together toward a common goal. Earlier this year, I was very excited to see FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams appoint Sultan Meghji as the agency’s first Chief Innovation Officer charged with leading the FDIC’s efforts to promote the adoption of innovative technologies across the financial services sector. Since his appointment, Mr. Meghji has been engaging in extensive outreach efforts and listening sessions to gather feedback on the needs of the banking industry and the role the FDIC could play in helping spur innovation and change.

Given the reality that Ms. McWilliams’ tenure as Chair of the FDIC is limited, each state association is actively seeking input now from members to present a comprehensive, collaborative list of ideas for Mr. Meghji to consider that would move the needle for banks in an impactful way.

Mr. Meghji and his team are working within the context of four general themes. They are:

  • Inclusiveness – Access to banking services by anyone who needs/wants those services.
  • Resilience – The safety and security of the industry.
  • Ability to adapt to change.
  • How to protect the future of America’s competitiveness – Making certain that the environment our banks operate in is supportive of and encouraging innovation and positive change. This includes regulatory, economic, competitive, legal etc.

Please take a few minutes and brainstorm any ideas that I can share with my colleagues around innovation that would help improve your bank’s environment internally or allow you to better serve your customers and communities. Areas that have been mentioned by others include: Chartering, Fin Tech, Regulatory Reporting, Core Providers, Examinations, Cyber (for example: could the FDIC do cyber testing for the banks when they are in doing IT exams thus saving the banks time and money), and Streamlining Small Dollar Lending (for example, creating an “approved” risk profile and streamlined documentation so the process isn’t burdensome or costly for banks to engage in).

Please email me with your ideas by Tuesday, August 17. The goal of our state associations is to create a document to share with Mr. Meghji by mid-September. For additional background, here is a link to the FDIC’s FEDTECH website.