Earlier this month, the Marketplace Lending Association (MLA) and Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) merged to form the American Fintech Council (AFC) to “promote policies that advance responsible innovation and inclusivity within financial services.” The trade group intends to lobby Washington lawmakers and establish standards for the fintech industry as it rapidly grows.
Officially announced on March 3, the group is comprised of members from leading technology companies, offering a variety of financial products for consumers and businesses. Among the new members of the council are Varo and Green Dot. Also recently launched was a Community Advisory Board intended to promote responsible practice in the fintech industry.
The group’s core principles are to support the use of technology to develop financial services to enrich people’s lives; offer affordable, transparent, and responsible products; advance financial inclusion and racial equity; and embrace and support regulation that furthers and promotes responsible innovation.
Speaking on the organization, Richard Neiman, Head of Regulatory and Public Policy at LendingClub, and founding member of the MLA said, “This is a transformational merger between two organizations committed to financial inclusion and a customer friendly financial system.” He further shared, “Together we will create a more expansive fintech association of companies that foster responsible innovation and growth while encouraging sound public policy.”
The council’s over 50 members includes digital banks, online lenders, and other types of fintech firms. It was shared that members must abide standards such as capping loans at an annual percentage rate of 36%. The community advisory board is an assemblage of consumer advocacy groups, community development financial institutions, and academic organizations in a mix that seeks to be representative in voice.
The organization will be based right in the heart of policy, Washington, D.C. from which its intentions of designing and promoting policies that will elevate the fintech industry with fairness, inclusion, and equity will be most easily disseminated.
No doubt the American Fintech Council will play a critical role championing a path advocating for fairness, regulation, and responsibility in the market as fintechs navigate the massive boom that accelerated their growth and adoption.