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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Yellen addresses “digital divide”

Federal Issues Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury Fintech Anti-Money Laundering SBA Covid-19

Federal Issues

On February 9 and 10, the U.S. Treasury Department hosted its U.S. Financial Sector Innovation Policy Roundtable, which convened public and private sector experts “to exchange views for collaborating on policy issues and innovative technologies that support global financial integrity, while fostering economic recovery, competitiveness, and financial inclusion.” Treasury Secretary Yellen delivered the opening remarks touching on the enactment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 (covered by InfoBytes here), noting that the law is timely as “we’re living amidst an explosion of risk related to fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and data privacy.” Moreover, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has seen “more sophisticated” cyberattacks. Yellen asserts that the pandemic has highlighted the “digital divide” in the country and that “millions of people remain disconnected from the financial system.” Similar to broadband deserts, there are “financial services deserts,” as shown the Paycheck Protection Program’s issues with reaching small businesses in communities of color. Yellen concluded that “just as much as we need responsible innovation, we also need equitable innovation; tools that can help bring the benefits of the financial system and modern IT to more people.”

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