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The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 13, 2015 • Issue 15:04:01

Congressional payments caucus a positive for industry

The Congressional Payments Technology Caucus, formed March 19, 2015, will expand oversight into payment technologies, data security and alternative payment schemes that exist outside the traditional banking footprint. Committee members include House Representatives Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, David Scott, D-Ga., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. The representatives share an interest in consumer protection and concurrently serve on the House Financial Services Committee.

Jason Oxman, Chief Executive Officer at the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Transactions Association hailed the newly formed caucus as an important new development for the payments industry and U.S. economy.

"As the trade association of more than 500 U.S. payments technology companies, ETA applauds the leadership of Representatives Westmoreland, Scott, Neugebauer, and Sinema and looks forward to working with caucus members to advance deployment of payments technologies that grow our economy while improving the lives of all Americans," Oxman said.

Scott Talbott, ETA Senior Vice President of Government Relations, added, "The CPTC will deepen members of Congress' understanding of issues facing the rapidly evolving payments tech industry."

Parallel efforts continue

While the CPTC's complete agenda has not yet been revealed, its committee members will continue to work with the House Financial Services Committee on initiatives that broadly impact the payments and financial industries. The committee's far-reaching agenda addresses current legislation and new issues that surface while Congress is in session. Current legislative initiatives include: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, financial institutions and consumer credit, capital markets, government sponsored enterprises, housing, insurance, and monetary policy and trade.

The Dodd-Frank Act's sweeping reforms include formation of the Financial Stability Oversight Committee and the Office of Financial Research. The "Too Big to Fail" initiative is designed to end government bailouts of banks regardless of their size or influence. The Volcker Rule restricts commercial banks from investing in hedge funds and private equity. The HFSC will continue to examine "Too Big to Fail" implementation and the Volcker Rule's impact on the strength and competitiveness of U.S. capital markets. A diverse group of HFSC subcommittees manage ongoing oversight of financial institutions and consumer credit practices. These committees cover the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, financial supervision, capital standards and Basel III, mortgages, deposit insurance, community financial institutions, regulatory burden reduction, credit scores and credit reports, access to financial services, Operation Choke Point, and discrimination in lending.

Cautious optimism

CPTC members noted the accelerated pace of technology innovation and its impact on U.S. and global economies. Rep. Neugebauer sees an upside in CPTC activities in the United States and locally for constituents in the 19th District of Texas. "Many of these new technologies will help address some of our most pressing financial services challenges such as cyber and data security," he said.

Rep. Westmoreland described Georgia as a leader in both consumer payment systems and cyber security. She looks forward to representing Georgia and participating in committee activities. "Global technology is growing and changing at a rapid pace and has a dramatic effect on our consumer payment systems and cyber security," she said, adding that the CPTC will help members stay current on industry changes, provide information, and participate in crafting future legislation.

Rep. Scott, a member of the Financial Services Committee, commented on Georgia's central role in payments, stating, "Most electronic transactions in the U.S. pass through Georgia-based companies." He also acknowledged the need to further educate fellow members of Congress on the issues facing the payments industry such as security and consumer protections.

Rep. Sinema said she looks "forward to working with the CPTC to foster innovation, protect consumers and support small businesses." The Green Sheet, Inc.

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