Lawmakers seek answers about FDIC Tech Lab

In a letter to the FDIC today, three members of the House Financial Services Committee expressed concern over what they said was the agency’s decision to roll back a program to promote technological innovation in financial services.

The FDIC Tech Lab—or FDiTech—was created in 2019 under former FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams to increase collaboration between fintech firms, regulators and the financial institutions the agency oversees. The three lawmakers accused FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg of dismantling the public face of FDiTech and rolling it into the Division of Information Technology, where it no longer serves its original purpose. The letter was signed by committee Chairman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and French Hill (R-Ark.).

The lawmakers also said the FDIC has not made publicly available information detailing how the FDIC’s posture on innovation will manifest in examinations, and whether the change would be in compliance with the FDIC’s Compliance Examination Manual. “We are concerned that the FDIC’s approach could, within the examination processes or otherwise, be used to prevent the development of innovative products and services that benefit consumers and businesses,” they said.