Democratic Senators Call for New GAO Study of Fintech

Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), joined by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) today called on the Government Accountability Office to conduct a new study of the fast-growing nonbank financial technology sector. GAO’s previous fintech study was issued in 2011, when fintech was focused on peer-to-peer lending, and fintech has grown substantially in loan volume, in investment volume and in the number of financial product markets it competes in.

“It is possible that the current online marketplace for small business loans falls between the cracks for federal regulators,” the senators wrote. “We are very interested in ensuring that fintech provides credit to small businesses and consumers in a way that prevents abusive practices while expanding economic opportunity.”

The senators specifically asked the GAO to study the current scope and scale of fintech lending, potential risks to individual investors, changes in the regulatory framework, differences in regulation of banks and fintech firms, underwriting practices, disclosure requirements, data security standards and anti-money laundering rules.