CFPB Issues “Project Catalyst” Report on Financial Services Innovation

In 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) launched its Project Catalyst initiative, which is dedicated to promoting consumer-friendly innovation in the financial services marketplace. The CFPB explains the initiative’s work as outreach and collaboration with a variety of institutions to develop new programs, perform research, and conduct disclosure testing, among other projects.

On October 24, 2016, the CFPB issued its first report on this project, which highlighted specific examples of innovation and testing. For example, the report explains how the CFPB, in cooperation with American Express, launched a program that encouraged certain prepaid account users to set aside money in a non-interest bearing savings wallet. The program tested various avenues to encourage savings through this mechanism (p. 18). Another example discussed in the report highlighted working with H&R Block to examine the impact of tax-time saving opportunities extended to low-income consumers. Many consumers receive large tax refunds and do not save any portion of this amount. The CFPB worked with H&R Block to study potential options for increasing savings awareness (p. 19).

Consider reviewing the report and the examples of financial innovation that demonstrate cooperation between the CFPB and various institutions to offer new and interesting products and ideas to consumers. Although the report is not necessarily an invitation to promote similar products without considering the needs of your customers and goals of your institution, it nonetheless demonstrates the types of projects that are viewed positively by the CFPB in furtherance of its goals and mission.

As always, please feel free to contact Spilman if you have any questions about your financial institution.

By R. Scott Adams

R. Scott Adams





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