CFPB Launches Financial Product Innovation Initiative

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On November 14, the CFPB announced an initiative designed to encourage “consumer-friendly innovation and entrepreneurship” in financial product markets. The CFPB stated that the “Project Catalyst” initiative will allow the Bureau to (i) establish firm communication with innovators that will allow the Bureau to better understand the current situations in the market, (ii) understand new and emerging products in the market and the sufficiency of the existing regulatory environment for such products, and (iii) engage with innovators to help the Bureau better understand what works and does not work for consumers. The first phase of the project involves three companies that will share anonymized data about consumer behaviors and trends with the CFPB, which the CFPB intends to use to inform policy decisions. The initial phase participants will provide (i) consumer credit and debit card billing dispute data, (ii) data regarding the value consumers place on easily depositing and obtaining immediate access to their funds, and (iii) a product that helps consumers gain insight into their spending habits. Through the Project Catalyst website, interested parties can identify financial regulations that hamper consumer-friendly innovation or seek to collaborate with the CFPB on new financial products or services.

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